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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - January 15, 2018

Carnival Triumph to Offer Diverse Inaugural Schedule in 2019-20
Carnival Triumph will operate a diverse itinerary schedule in 2019-20, with a wide variety of four- to 14-day departures from New York, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Norfolk, Va., visiting nearly two dozen stunning destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Canada, New England, Bermuda and the Panama Canal.

“We’re delighted to offer this unique schedule on Carnival Triumph which will operate an array of cruise durations and varied itineraries departing from three convenient homeports along the East Coast,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “With such an array of cruise choices vacationers have the opportunity to enjoy short, valued-packed getaways to tropical destinations to longer length departures visiting spectacular ports of call,” she added.

Four- to 14-Day Cruises from New York
Carnival Triumph will offer the wide variety of itinerary choices from the Big Apple with four- to 14-day voyages departing in the summer and fall 2019 visiting beautiful destinations in Bermuda, The Caribbean, Canada and New England, as well as the unforgettable opportunity to visit the Panama Canal.

Five four-day “long weekend” Bermuda cruises depart May 23, June 20, July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 12, 2019, and offer guests a full day to experience the island while a six-day Bermuda cruise departs Sept. 16, 2019, and spends two full days at the island. An eight-day cruise departing June 24, 2019 offers two full days in Bermuda, as well as a stop in Grand Turk.

Three seven-day cruises will also be offered, departing Sept. 22 and 29 and Oct. 6, 2019 and featuring day-long calls in throughout New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

Carnival Triumph’s schedule from New York also includes two distinctly different exotic eight-day Caribbean itineraries: one featuring Grand Turk, San Juan and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) with departure dates of July 2, 10 and 30, Aug. 7 and 27, Sept. 4, 2019, the other visiting San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk and departing July 22 and Aug. 19, 2019.

There’s also a 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean itinerary departing June 10, 2019, calling at San Juan, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk, as well as a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise that departs May 27, 2019, and includes the opportunity to visit the Panama Canal during a call in Colon (Panama), as well as visits to Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Limon (Costa Rica), and Half Moon Cay. Guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique local dining and entertainment experiences and a number of shipboard enrichment activities.

Four- and Five-Day Cruises From Fort Lauderdale
As part of its new schedule, Carnival Triumph will offer a series of four- and five-day cruises from Fort Lauderdale in April 2019 and, following its summer schedule of cruises from New York, will also operate these itineraries from November 2019 through April 2020. Carnival Triumph will be the only Carnival ship to operate a short cruise itinerary from this port. On this route, four-day “long weekend” voyages depart Thursdays and visit Nassau and the private Bahamian destinations of Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays. Five-day sailings departing Saturdays call at Grand Turk, Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays, while five-day voyages departing Mondays feature Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

Five- and Six-Day Cruises From Norfolk
Carnival Triumph’s schedule will also include five- and six-day Bahamas voyages departing from Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise Center. Two five-day voyages will depart May 12 and 17, 2019 calling at Nassau and Freeport while six-day cruises depart May 6, and October 14 and 20, 2019, visiting Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport.

Wide Variety of Onboard Amenities
Carnival Triumph offers guest a wide variety of popular and exciting options, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Cantina Tequila Bar, and the BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare. The ship also features hundreds of balcony staterooms, as well as a luxurious health and wellness facility, complimentary children’s programs for kids in three age groups, and a 214-foot-long cascading water slide.

Prior to the launch of this program, Carnival Triumph will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar refurbishment that will add a variety of exciting food, beverage and entertainment innovations.

Princess Cruises Invites Guests to Play in the Trees This Summer
Princess Cruises today announced the 2018 programming to be featured at the line’s custom designed wilderness treehouse located at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. The treehouse is a new addition to the guest experience which allows guests an opportunity to view Denali, North America’s highest peak, while enjoying themed activities and socializing with fellow travelers, all amongst the trees. The treehouse was built during an episode of Animal Planet’s hit show “Treehouse Masters,” in association with the line’s partnership with Discovery Communications, which premiered during the season finale in fall 2017.

“At destinations around the globe, we strive to create a bond between our guests and the places we visit, and now more than ever people are visiting Alaska to experience the beauty and adventure the state has to offer,” said Lisa Syme, Princess Cruises vice president. “As the #1 cruise line in Alaska, we are eager to bring these fresh and engaging experiences to our Alaska cruisetour guests, providing opportunities for more travelers to connect with the people, nature, storied traditions and history of the Great Land in 2018.”

The treehouse was the first-ever designed and constructed in Alaska by Pete Nelson, the star of the hit TV series. As one of the highest land-based north-facing viewing areas, the treehouse provides Princess guests a one-of-a-kind experience to see the south face of Denali from atop the trees, and is powered by solar panels. At approximately 500 square feet, guests can access the treehouse by hiking the short “hill trail loop” and be rewarded with the ultimate Denali view.

For nearly 50 years, Princess Cruises has been recognized as a destination leader in Alaska, taking more guests to the Great Land than any other cruise company with its largest deployment ever in 2018. Guests traveling on a Princess Cruises cruisetour will be able to enjoy the treehouse, along with visits to other Princess-owned lodges, and a ride on the exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service, saving time on travel and allowing for more time to experience the Denali-area. In 2018, treehouse activities and programming include:

Tales from The Sourdough Expedition
Hosted by author, world record holder and amputee mountain climber, Todd Huston, guests will follow along a chronicle of the first successful ascent of Denali, the Sourdough Expedition. Participants will meet Huston and fellow adventurers before beginning their very own trek to the line’s new wilderness treehouse. Stories of the first successful ascent will entertain guests as the group explores area trails, ending the journey with a cup of hot cocoa and doughnuts at the treehouse summit. Guests are invited to join the 45 minute expedition five days a week for a nominal charge.

Sappy Hour
Found in the interior of Alaska, boreal forests are carpeted with Birch and Spruce trees, providing ideal conditions for sustainable syrup production. Beginning in 2018, guests can gather with fellow foodies inside the treehouse for a unique and rare sampling of birch syrups and other tree-inspired products. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about Birch trees and the process of harvesting birch syrup. Sappy Hour will run daily at the treehouse for a nominal charge per guest.

Trivia at the Treehouse
Guests are challenged to test their knowledge of The Great Land with an afternoon of brain-busting fun. Hosted by the lodge’s resident naturalist, guests will experience trivia like never before, taking in unprecedented views of North America’s highest peak from the trees. Trivia will take place daily, and participation is complimentary for lodge guests.

Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican Eatery, New Poolside Bars Among New Spaces Being Added To Carnival Victory
Carnival Victory is in the midst of an extensive, multi-million-dollar dry dock that is adding a wide variety of food and beverage innovations, as well as two luxurious Captain's Suites and new deluxe ocean view staterooms.

The new spaces, which are being added during a 17-day dry dock taking place Jan. 4-21, 2018, in Freeport, The Bahamas, include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• New Accommodations: Several new cabin categories will be added to Carnival Victory, including 260-square-feet Scenic Ocean View staterooms and 320-square-foot Scenic Grand Ocean View accommodations as well as Captain's Suites, spacious 820-square-foot cabins offer a large extended balcony, two full-size bathrooms, separate sleeping quarters and a large living room.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

• Re-Branded Deli: the ship's deli has been completely renovated with an updated design and new menu offerings, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps.

• Cherry on Top: The "sweetest spot on board," Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

These spaces complement Carnival Victory's numerous other onboard amenities, including a 14,500-square-foot spa, a 214-foot-long water slide, a Punchliner Comedy Club offering adults-only and family-friendly performances, and Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Carnival Victory operates year-round three- and four-day cruises from PortMiami. Three-day cruises depart on Fridays and call at Nassau, while four-day voyages depart Mondays and visit Key West and Cozumel or Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

Shaquille O'Neal Appointed As Carnival Cruise Line's New "CFO"…Chief Fun Officer
NBA Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Shaquille O'Neal – also known as "Shaq" – announced on last night's TNT Inside the NBA broadcast that he has been given a new title, joining Carnival Cruise Line as their newly appointed "CFO."

The announcement was made with a tongue-in-cheek video that features Shaq and Carnival President Christine Duffy but omits one minor detail: CFO stands for "Chief Fun Officer," personifying the cruise line's newest brand campaign, "Choose Fun," which launched earlier this week.

As the newly appointed "CFO," O'Neal has partnered with the cruise line, lending his fun, larger-than-life personality and playful spirit to inspire America to Choose Fun with Carnival when planning their next vacation, and in their everyday lives.

Shaq's role will be brought to life via engaging video content, social media and experiential activations, beginning today.

In the first piece of advertising that introduces Shaq as Carnival's Chief Fun Officer, he takes viewers on a whirlwind 30-second tour of Carnival Vista, showing his playful self as he enjoys the ship's many attractions and experiences, including SkyRide, Havana pool, Cloud 9 Spa, a burger at Guy Fieri's Burger Joint and, of course, the basketball court.

"We are very excited to have Shaq as part of the Carnival team! He will serve as a great partner ensuring everyone knows all about our one-of-a-kind brand of fun," said Duffy. "We're confident that his embodiment of our brand values will inspire America to Choose Fun and discover the authentic, participatory and social atmosphere that Carnival offers."

"In today's world, it's more important than ever to choose fun, especially when everyone is busy with work, family, and life in general," says O'Neal. "So, I'm honored to be appointed the Chief Fun Officer at Carnival – a company that lives and breathes fun."

Carnival Cruise Line is the largest brand in the Carnival Corporation portfolio with a fleet of 25 ships designed to deliver fun and memorable vacation experiences at a great value. It is the world's most popular cruise line carrying five million guests a year and catering to a wide consumer demographic, appealing to families, couples, singles and seniors. Carnival carries more children and military personnel than any other cruise line. In spring 2018, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon will debut as the 26th ship in the fleet.

Royal Caribbean Develops Test To Help Travelers Discover Their Adventure Personality
With the winter blues in full swing, whether that is rain, snow or plain-old cold, many travelers are dreaming of their next escape. A new calendar year brings a renewed sense of wanderlust, complemented by a fresh supply of vacation days, begging the question of "Where to next?" Global cruise line Royal Caribbean International is teaming up with the international authority on personality research, CPP–The Myers-Briggs Company, to create a convenient way for travelers to navigate the possibilities for their next adventure from start to finish. Adventure seekers can visit MyAdventurePersonality.com through March to discover more about who they are and what places around the world would most likely energize and excite them. The co-created quiz from Royal Caribbean and the Myers-Briggs team serves as a tool to guide adventurers in planning more fulfilling vacations than ever before, and maximizing their value for spend as well as their precious time off.

"Royal Caribbean encourages everyone to act on their wanderlust. Now we've created a fun, engaging tool to help travelers do just that by digging into their adventure personality," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer, Royal Caribbean International. "It's exciting that Royal Caribbean is the first in the travel industry to partner with CPP–The Myers-Briggs Company. By combining our nearly 50 years of experience with the research expertise of Myers-Briggs, adventure seekers of all ages not only can better understand their adventure makeup but also their fellow explorers. It's also worth mentioning that there's roughly a zero percent chance of a wicked Nor'easter in the Caribbean Sea."

The easy-to-complete, 13-question quiz draws on The Myers-Briggs Company's knowledge of personality types, and specifically assesses a person's underlying motivations and interpersonal needs that most affect their travel preferences. Once complete, quiz-takers receive a unique description of who they are as a traveler, along with insight into destinations and activities that best suit them – from relaxing on a Caribbean beach to dogsledding across Alaska.

"Vacations are one of the few times in life we're truly allowed to focus on ourselves, so the more we know about our own personality type, the more relaxing and fun we can make them," said Jeff Hayes, CEO, CPP–The Myers-Briggs Company. "Our research team and Royal Caribbean's travel experts put their heads together and created a way to quickly map our personality preferences to travel planning, so that people can plan trips that will leave them recharged and rejuvenated."

The Adventure Personality quiz will be available during prime travel-planning season, known as 'Wave Season' in the cruise industry, when the best offers are available for the year ahead. Adventurers can take advantage of Wave Season, by visiting RoyalCaribbean.com.

Travelers can share their results by tagging @RoyalCaribbean and #ComeSeek on Facebook and Twitter, and invite their friends and family to learn more about their own adventure personality.

Holland America Adds Seattle Chef Ethan Stowell To Its Culinary Council
Holland America Line is amplifying the star power on its award-winning Culinary Council with the addition of Seattle chef Ethan Stowell. The Seattle-based premium cruise line chose the hometown chef to enhance its culinary offerings aboard its fleet of 14 ships, including the line's newest ship Nieuw Statendam, which begins sailing Dec. 5, 2018.

Stowell joins an elite team of world-renowned chefs on Holland America Line's Culinary Council, including Master Chef and Culinary Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin and international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres. No other cruise line has a team of six global culinary experts partnering with them to enhance all aspects of their dining experience.

"Our Culinary Council was designed to bring the global leadership of a team of international culinary experts to our onboard dining experience, and we're thrilled to welcome a creative and successful chef like Ethan to the group," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "In partnership with the Culinary Council we continually evolve and enhance our menus, and we're excited to tap into Ethan's passion and knowledge of regional cuisine to enrich our offerings across all our ships."

As part of his relationship with Holland America Line, Stowell will work collaboratively with the cruise line's culinary team to create a narrative that brings the flavors of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest on board its seven ships cruising in the region. Guests will be able to choose regionally inspired dishes in the dining room.

On all ships, several venues will feature menu items from Stowell, including New York Pizza, and in Lido Market Stowell will be revamping the popular Distant Lands Italian station and adding seven signature tossed salads at the Wild Harvest station.

A Stowell-developed signature appetizer and main course also will be featured on the Culinary Council menu in the dining room one evening on each cruise.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 69.69 + 5.51%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 127.53 + 5.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.76 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.85 + 5.84%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
For safety and speed reasons, the SS United States, once the fastest ship afloat, was constructed almost entirely of aluminium and steel. In fact, it was said that there were only two items made of wood on board the entire ship. What were those two items?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
For safety and speed reasons, the SS United States, once the fastest ship afloat, was constructed almost entirely of aluminium and steel. In fact, it was said that there were only two items made of wood on board the entire ship. What were those two items?

Answer - The grand piano and the top of the butcher's block in the galley were the only wood items (unless there were pencils on board,)
courtesy of Wayne Miller


Cruise News - January 8, 2018

Keel-Laying Ceremony Held for Carnival Panorama Scheduled to Enter Service in November 2019
A traditional keel-laying ceremony was held at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, for Carnival Cruise Line’s third 133,500-ton Vista-class ship, Carnival Panorama, which is scheduled to enter service in November 2019.

The ceremony, which dates back hundreds of years, signifies the official start of construction of a seagoing vessel.

Carnival Panorama will offer many of the popular innovations and features introduced on Carnival Vista which debuted in May 2016. The second in the series, Carnival Horizon, is scheduled to enter service April 2, 2018.

Additional design details, as well as homeport and itinerary information for Carnival Panorama, will be announced at a later date.

Celebrity Edge To Arrive Early, Offer Two "Maiden" Voyages
Celebrity Cruises is excited to announce the highly anticipated inaugural season of Celebrity Edge has expanded, as the transformational new ship will be completed ahead of schedule and enter service earlier than planned.

The schedule change will now allow Celebrity to offer not one, but two distinct seven-night maiden voyages on Celebrity Edge’s alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. Travelers also have the option to book back-to-back sailings for a 14-night journey:

Maiden Voyage West: A seven-night western Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, FL., on December 9, 2018, and visiting Key West, FL.; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman

Maiden Voyage East: The previously announced seven-night eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Ft. Lauderdale on December 16, 2018, and visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten

"Thanks to the amazing work of the STX France shipyard team, the industry-changing Celebrity Edge is now scheduled to arrive much earlier than anticipated, which gave us the opportunity to offer not one, but two maiden voyages,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Both of these maiden voyages, plus the taste of luxury preview sailings, will have all of the festivities one would expect from the launch of such a revolutionary new ship, and now even more guests will have the chance to experience these one-of-a-kind inaugural sailings."

In addition to the alternating maiden voyages, Celebrity will also be offering four new Edge Preview Sailings, perfect for eager guests who simply can’t wait to get a taste of luxury. These three-night Bahamas cruises will also sail round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, FL., departing on November 21, November 24, December 3, and December 6. Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., now making her first sailing November 21, 2018.

Princess Debuts New Features and Upgrades Onboard Star Princess to Start Hawaii Season
Star Princess has returned to service following a two-week multi-million-dollar renovation, outfitting the ship with some of the latest Princess Cruises product innovations and enhancements to various onboard areas.

Resuming a season of 15-day Hawaiian Island cruises roundtrip from Los Angeles and Vancouver through April before summer cruising in Alaska, Star Princess guests will enjoy new or updated onboard offerings.

"Star Princess now offers many of the signature product innovations our guests have come to love, including the Princess Luxury Bed, Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center and revamped Sabatini's," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "These enhancements continue our $450 million multi-year ship renovation campaign, 'Come Back New Promise', enhancing our onboard guest experience."

Sabatini's Italian Trattoria – this signature specialty restaurant now offers updated décor and a new menu developed in collaboration with Chef Angelo Auriana, Executive Chef and partner at the authentic Italian restaurants, The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA, in Los Angeles. Inspired by fresh Northern Italian flavors the menu features handmade pasta dishes from Chef Auriana, as well as family recipes from Italian Princess executive chefs.

Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Star Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV designer Candice Olson. The bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design.

Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center – for cruisers ages 3-17, Star Princess now offers a reimagined youth center – Camp Discovery – created in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications™, as part of the cruise line's Discovery at Sea program. Catering to specific age groups, there are three center themes where kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle.

Enhanced Boutiques – guests will enjoy aesthetic enhancements to the Shops of Princess, offering an upgraded shopping experience, such as a branded Effy Fine Jewelry boutique and a modern Fragrance & Cosmetic shop. There will also be new products to choose from such as a new collection of Princess and Under Armour branded athletic wear and Princess logo apparel featured in a newly designed Logo shop.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – in a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatments rooms have been upgraded and the latest in fitness equipment is now available.

Casino – for guests ready to take a gamble, reconfiguration of machines and tables, as well new carpet tempt them to roll the dice.

Other general refurnishing upgrades of carpet and upholstery are found throughout Star Princess.

Seabourn Sojourn Adds Signature Restaurant
Seabourn announces major enhancements to the guest experience on Seabourn Sojourn, including the addition of the line's new signature restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller, and the new mindful living program created by Dr. Andrew Weil.

TThe programs were launched following a recent dry dock period for Seabourn Sojourn, which also included a variety of detailed updates throughout the ship. Many of the public areas received new carpet and design touches. Suites were refreshed, and Owner's, Signature and Wintergarden Suites in particular were notably enhanced with new furniture and soft goods.

"The Grill by Thomas Keller and Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil are the latest in our long tradition of offering the finest guest experiences in luxury travel," said Seabourn President Richard Meadows, noting that both offerings are now available fleetwide. "The outstanding partnerships we have with Chef Keller and Dr. Weil are now complete, with the next iteration to come on Seabourn Ovation when it launches next spring."

The Grill by Thomas Keller
Created via partnership with Seabourn in 2015, The Grill by Thomas Keller is reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's. The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, exclusive to Seabourn, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte. The timeless menu draws on the freshest products from artisan purveyors. A unique cocktail program and premium wine list of domestic and old world labels complement the menu. Design by Adam Tihany further enhances the experience with distinctive spaces enlivened with intimate, elegant, warmly masculine settings.

The Grill by Thomas Keller will be featured on Seabourn Ovation at the ship's launch in May 2018.

Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil
Created in conjunction with The Onboard Spa by Steiner, Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil is the first program of its kind available at sea. As on other vessels across the Seabourn fleet, the Seabourn Sojourn program is led by a dedicated Mindful Living Coach, certified in yoga and meditation, whose role is to inspire and educate throughout the voyage.

The main thrust of the program is the daily practice of meditation and yoga, with some sessions offered on a complimentary basis. Guests can experience Mindful Meditation, with positive affirmations and mantras to reflect upon throughout the day. Yoga classes are varied, with choices focused on physical issues, such as the healing of back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment, as well as enhancement of creativity, mental focus and happiness.

Complimentary Mind and Body seminars are designed to educate guests on philosophies and practices aligned with the program's mission. Onboard seminars adapted from Dr. Weil's best-selling books and research range from Spontaneous Happiness & Spontaneous Healing to Healthy Aging and more. One-on-one wellness sessions on select topics and a variety of wellness services are also available for a fee.

Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil will be featured on Seabourn Ovation at the ship's launch in May 2018.

Seabourn Sojourn will play host to Extended Explorations itineraries during the first part of 2018, which create opportunities for guests who prefer a more in-depth experience of a particular region, or to traverse from one region to another. These longer voyages frequently include more overnight stays in must-see ports. The ship will return to Alaska for the summer in 2018, taking travelers on unique itineraries that include the popular Ventures by Seabourn excursions, an optional, for-charge program that gives guests an up-close look at the natural beauty and environment.

Carnival Cruise Line Launches New Ad Campaign
- Carnival Cruise Line and its newly appointed ad agency of record Anomaly, are launching a new brand campaign called "Choose Fun."

After robust research on Carnival guests, Anomaly discovered that the Carnival brand, guests and crew all share the common belief that fun is a choice and whether on board or ashore, those vacationing with Carnival choose to be their truest self, embrace positivity and have fun with others.

With guests possessing their own definitions of fun, and Carnival offering an array of onboard attractions and experiences, Anomaly, created a campaign to connect the same activities that vacationers enjoy on land with those offered on board on a one-to-one personalized level. Driven by these consumer insights, Choose Fun is designed to attract those who have never cruised, but share the same values and passions.

"As America's Cruise Line, Carnival has always delivered on our brand promise of fun, memorable vacations at a great value," said Carnival's President Christine Duffy. "This new campaign promises to be an irresistible invitation for prospects to rethink their beliefs about cruising and consider Carnival as their next vacation."

The Choose Fun campaign launches with two distinctly different sets of advertising. First, longer-length testimonials depict first-time cruisers who were initially reluctant to set sail but were liberated on a Carnival cruise, making the vacation more fun and memorable for everyone. These testimonials are viewed in unexpected situations such as sliding down a water slide, posing for photos and even conversing with family members under water. The three testimonials include: "Excursions", "Stacy Tracy" and "Insta-worthy".

Additionally, six-second video snippets will be customized to match content on various websites and viewer preferences delivering the ultimate one-to-one marketing. Each pod showcases a fun activity aboard a Carnival ship including biking in the sky on SkyRide, getting a massage at the Cloud 9 Spa, performing at Lip Sync Battle, enjoying the Punchliner Comedy Club and feasting on burgers by Food Network star and Carnival partner Guy Fieri as well as fun activities ashore.

Added Carnival's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Mayor, "We believe Choose Fun is a bumper sticker Carnival guests would proudly identify with – a rallying cry that inspires those who have never cruised to give it a try. After all, when given a choice between more fun or less fun, who wouldn't choose more fun?"

Choose Fun will come to life in digital display, paid social and modular online videos on platforms such as Amazon Video, Hulu, Roku and Vevo. The new advertising will also air on television in the Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and LA markets during high profile events like the GRAMMY's Red Carpet and NFL Playoff Games.

In these key regional markets, large and disruptive out of home placements will also showcase Carnival's signature bold visual identity and uncommon text-only communications to break through the sea of sameness in the category.

"We couldn't be prouder of this work and new partnership," said Franke Rodriguez, Partner and CEO of Anomaly. "With Choose Fun, Carnival is poised to disrupt the cruise category, launch an innovative go-to-market model, and connect with a new wave of cruisers who share the values of this amazing brand."

Viking Welcomes Ocean Ship To Los Angeles For First Time
Viking today welcomed its fourth and newest ocean ship, Viking Sun to Los Angeles, also the home of the company's U.S. headquarters. The ship is currently sailing Viking's sold-out 141-day World Cruise from Miami to London, and Los Angeles is Viking's first U.S. West Coast port of call in the company's 20-year history. Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen today greeted guests on Viking Sun, and during a press conference onboard unveiled a new multi-channel brand advertising campaign titled, "Did You Know?"

"We have always been a travel company that focuses on exploration and cultural immersion," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "In the last two decades we have led the industry in river cruising, and as we become the leading small ship ocean cruise line we have an opportunity to introduce many new travelers to the Viking way of exploration. Our new 'Did You Know?' campaign is aimed at inspiring people who may not yet know what makes us so different in the industry, why we are the most award-winning cruise line and how we can provide more included value than any other cruise company."

Timed with the cruise industry's "Wave Season" in January, the launch of Viking's new "Did You Know?" campaign will feature new creative advertisements that will appear across all marketing channels, including TV, print and digital. Aimed at travel agents and the company's target audience of experienced travelers 55 and older, the campaign highlights Viking's industry differentiators, including its inclusive value with a shore excursion included in every port, as well as what Viking is not – no formal nights, no kids and no casinos. The campaign will also share Viking's award-winning history, such as being named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure's 2016 and 2017 World's Best Awards and the #1 River Cruise Line in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards.

At the press conference, Hagen also announced that the company's sixth ship will be named Viking Jupiter. Scheduled to launch in February 2019, the 930-guest sister ship will sail Viking's most popular itineraries in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as two new itineraries in South America – Southern Atlantic Crossing (22 days; Barcelona – Buenos Aires) and South America & the Chilean Fjords (18 days; Buenos Aires – Santiago).

Carnival Cruise Line Announces Four New Craft Beers At Carnival Horizon's Onboard Brewery
Carnival Cruise Line has announced the names of the four craft beers that will be brewed aboard the new Carnival Horizon which is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018.

The refreshing new brews were developed by Carnival's expert brewmaster Colin Presby and will be offered at Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse, a new dining concept that combines the best of both worlds – an onboard brewery and a full-service restaurant featuring "real deal" BBQ favorites and sides developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, a member of the American Royal National Barbecue Hall of Fame.

The announcement was made by Presby and Carnival Vice President of Beverage Operations Edward Allen at a traditional keg-tapping ceremony held aboard Carnival Vista, the first North American-based cruise ship to feature an onboard brewery. The names of the beers – whose names are playful takes on the line's popular ThirstyFrog brews that debuted on Carnival Vista – are inspired by the varied barbecue offerings at Smokehouse|Brewhouse. The four new beers on Carnival Horizon include:

• ParchedPig Smoked Porter – brewed with in-house smoked malt, this robust, full-bodied beer offers big and bold flavors and notes of molasses and hickory smoke, providing the perfect complement to Smokehouse|Brewhouse's BBQ favorites

• ParchedPig Farmhouse Ale – this lightly hopped beer is distinguished by its blond color, fruity and complex character with mild spice notes that balance the brew's dry finish

• ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale – highlighted by its rich amber color and notes of toasted caramel and biscuit, this beer is well balanced, smooth and highly drinkable

• ParchedPig West Coast IPA – the embodiment of a traditional West Coast India Pale Ale, this hoppy, intense beer is loaded with bitterness with a bright flavor profile and distinctive aroma of citrus and pine

"Smokehouse|Brewhouse is a unique culinary concept and we've created four fantastic brewed-on-board craft beers that not only showcase different tastes and brewing styles but also serve as the ideal accompaniment to the venue's delicious array of barbecue offerings," said Presby.

offer a rustic, down-home décor as well as a variety of Fieri-designed favorites, all smoked "low and slow" using the chef's signature rubs and spices. The tantalizing offerings include smoked-on-board brisket, Memphis-style back ribs, dry-rubbed chicken, pulled pork, and cedar-smoked salmon, along with the chef's own take on traditional sides and his signature sauces. Dinner menu items are offered on an a la carte basis with a free-of-charge self-service BBQ lunch buffet available on embarkation day and sea days. A host of other dining venues aboard Carnival Horizon are also available, including the line's first teppanyaki restaurant, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina eatery, the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, and the New England-inspired Seafood Shack.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.06 - 0.48%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.09 + 1.56%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.76 + 1.73%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.66 + 2.56%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
For safety and speed reasons, the SS United States, once the fastest ship afloat, was constructed almost entirely of aluminium and steel. In fact, it was said that there were only two items made of wood on board the entire ship. What were those two items?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - The former Atlantic liner that sailed with QE2 was the Stefan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines. She was formerly Holland America's Maasdam.
courtesy of Michael Ohalloran


Cruise News - January 1, 2018

Coast Guard Medevacs 12-year-old From Caribbean Princess Near Miami
The US Coast Guard announced that they had medevaced a 12-year-old Canadian boy from the cruise ship, Caribbean Princess, approximately 230 miles southeast of Miami, Tuesday.

Early Tuesday evening, the Coast Guard District Seven watchstanders received a call from the cruise ship stating the 12-year-old boy was suffering from symptoms of appendicitis and was in need of medical assistance.

In response to the cruise ship's request for medical assistance, a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater was launched at approximately 7:00 p.m. The helicopter arrived on the scene and transported the patient and his father to awaiting emergency medical services at Air Station Miami at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Seabourn Celebrate Its 30th Anniversary Year
The 30th Anniversary of Seabourn starts with the turn of the calendar to 2018. But the anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year as the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line rolls out unique events and amenities created just for the occasion for guests, Seabourn team members and travel professional partners to enjoy around the world.

"Our 30th Anniversary is a wonderful occasion to celebrate the reputation we've earned as the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line by providing guests with opportunities to experience the most intriguing destinations around the globe on the most desirable ships at sea," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "As we continue to grow, those opportunities will grow as well. For now, though, we invite guests to sit back and soak up the ultra-luxury innovations we've pioneered and special touches we've created in celebration of our third decade at sea."

Here are some highlights to look forward to during Seabourn's 30th Anniversary year:

A New Vessel: Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn will expand its highly acclaimed fleet from four ships to five with the addition of Seabourn Ovation, launching in spring 2018. Like all Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising upon their introduction in 2009, Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service by a dedicated, thoughtful crew.

The addition of Seabourn Ovation will further reinforce Seabourn's position as the youngest and most modern ultra-luxury fleet in the industry. Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, the ship will feature modern design elements and innovations in keeping with the line's reputation for understated elegance, and it will be configured with one additional deck, expanded public areas, and unique offerings such as Seabourn's new signature dining experience The Grill by Thomas Keller, and the new mindful living program Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil.

Following the ship's delivery, Seabourn Ovation will embark on an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship will go on to spend the majority of her maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

Here's to 30 More Years!
Whatever the vessel, guests can anticipate a variety of vibrant offerings over the 30th Anniversary year ahead. Start with a toast to three decades of cruising excellence with an exclusive Passion Pearls cocktail created by world-renowned mixologist Brian van Flandern, who has transformed the line's craft cocktail program over the past two years. In keeping with the tradition of pearls to mark a 30th year, the cocktail combines ingredients inspired by one of Hollywood's most iconic luminaries, Audrey Hepburn, mixing passion fruit puree, Champagne, Hennessey VSOP Cognac and more. Notes Van Flandern: "Like Seabourn, Audrey's career spanned the globe and continues to inspire the next generation of world travelers who enjoy the simple pleasures of a luxury lifestyle in the company of likeminded people of good taste."

The celebration began in earnest on New Year's Eve across the Seabourn fleet. Additional 30th Anniversary-inspired enticements await guests throughout 2018 on their Seabourn cruise, where special touches will be seen in suites and at special events and dinners. While guests always enjoy a wide variety of complimentary fine wines and spirits onboard, a special 30th Anniversary Wine Package, featuring a selection of top quality wine and champagne, will also be available for purchase during the celebration. Additionally, The Shops will feature a special collection of pearls this spring along with commemorative 30th anniversary merchandise. Guests will even be challenged on their knowledge of Seabourn during onboard trivia matches.

A History of Innovation At Sea
Seabourn was born in 1987 out of a belief that travelers would appreciate a cruise experience intensely focused on providing personalized, anticipatory service; a relaxed, club-like atmosphere; and a place that encourages easy, carefree sociability. The line noted that its success depended on travelers recognizing and valuing those attributes and returning to experience them again and again.

Among the line's early innovations: The creation of an onboard experience that felt like something experienced on a private yacht, where virtually everything required for a guest's onboard enjoyment was included in the fare, including all-suite accommodation, dining and complimentary drinks. The idea was to create a relaxed social atmosphere like the one people enjoyed at private clubs. From the earliest days, service was intended to be the finest yet tipping was neither required nor expected by onboard staff.

By 2009, Seabourn responded to evolving guest expectations by revolutionizing the luxury cruise segment with the introduction of 32,000 ton, 458-guest Seabourn Odyssey. Larger than Seabourn's original ships, the Odyssey-class vessels further enhanced a spacious, welcoming environment guests desired. The added space allowed the one of the largest spa facilities in the category, a variety of alternative dining and entertainment venues, plenty of open deck space, and more.

Launched in 2009, Seabourn Odyssey was declared "a game-changer" by the media. Two additional sister ships, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, followed in 2010 and 2011, while Seabourn sold its original ships to enable a more consistent fleet profile. The fourth new vessel, Seabourn Encore, was launched in December 2016. The fleet will expand again with Seabourn Ovation in spring 2018, reinforcing the brand's position as the newest ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Seabourn continues to raise the bar. The ships travel to many of the world's most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, more than 170 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser known ports and hideaways. Ventures by Seabourn invites guests to participate in active optional, for-charge excursions in kayaks and Zodiacs on select voyages. Partnerships with select companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction mirrors Seabourn's has resulted in programs such as 'An Evening with Tim Rice', a new evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's.

Seabourn continues to innovate its offerings to the luxury traveler with the launch of several new programs and initiatives in 2018, including two Wellness Cruises with Dr. Andrew Weil, and a selection of land-based immersive Seabourn Journeys that will elevate the cruise experience in remarkable destinations around the world."Our 30th Anniversary is a wonderful occasion to celebrate the reputation we've earned as the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line by providing guests with opportunities to experience the most intriguing destinations around the globe on the most desirable ships at sea," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "As we continue to grow, those opportunities will grow as well. For now, though, we invite guests to sit back and soak up the ultra-luxury innovations we've pioneered and special touches we've created in celebration of our third decade at sea."

MSC Cruises Deploys Innovative Man Overboard Detection Technology
MSC Cruises recently announced the launch of a new vanguard video surveillance system offering even greater on-board security. In another industry-first, MSC Cruises has developed this highly-sophisticated advanced system in collaboration with global leaders in security technology, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The integrated system announced today is part of a bigger MSC Cruises operation to further optimize security monitoring on board the ship and will allow, among other features, for the speediest intervention in the unlikely event a person or object falls overboard. After a successful pilot phase of extensive stress-testing and continuous software upgrades, the intelligent video capturing and analysis system is now operational – initially on MSC Cruises’ latest flagship, MSC Meraviglia.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman said: “The security and safety of our guests and crew on board has always been our highest priority. Therefore – as innovation has been from day one central to the way in which we operate and develop new features for our ships – we have developed a highly-innovative solution that, through the use of military-grade technology, will allow ship command to take immediate action if needed. While a ship at sea is a challenging environment for accurate video security monitoring and operating high-tech equipment, our teams have managed to successfully develop a system that is at the same time accurate, stable and reliable.”

The new MSC Cruises system consists of a comprehensive shield of intelligent optical and thermal video cameras which provide nonstop comprehensive surveillance alongside the relevant exterior parts of the ship. All captured video images are streamed in real-time to a Central Security Room where the video stream is monitored together with all other inputs from the 1,200 HD CCTV cameras on board the ship.

MSC Cruises Security Department and experts from Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have worked over 14 months to meet demanding security requirements and create the right surveillance setup. While a key component in the surveillance infrastructure is to install highly resilient hardware (cameras, casing, base) that resists tough conditions at sea, a significant part of the process is to program the software in such a way it provides reliable and accurate data. In order to further increase the accuracy of the captured video images, the latter are processed and analysed by two separate and independent image processing systems.

This double security system has allowed to significantly lower the error margin for false alerts – typically caused by natural movements such as waves, reflection of sun or moon, or a bird triggering the alarm. These ordinary interferences usually pose significant challenges for current shipboard CCTV technology. Through over 25,000 hours of video analysis, extensive software testing and continuous algorithmic updates, the system has now reached a confirmed accuracy level of 97%.

In case of alarm, an acoustic signal and light will alert the ship’s Security Officer in the Central Security Room who can immediately connect to the system and acquire all images and data and, if necessary, retrieve or review the relevant video images. The Security Officer has direct access to the ship command at the Bridge to allow for immediate action.

This new man overboard detection system was developed to further optimize security aspects for all guests and crew on board the ship. As MSC Cruises is bringing to the sea some of the very latest advances in customer-centric technology, investments in innovative, state-of-the-art maritime technology, safety and security have been central to the Company’s strategy.

The system is now operational on MSC Meraviglia and is a first of its kind in the industry. Over time, similar integrated systems will be developed and deployed across MSC Cruises’ global fleet.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line's Grand Celebration Returns To Service
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the only Line with a two-night cruise departing year-round from the Port of Palm Beach, announced that Grand Celebration has returned to service with several new guest-focused enhancements, including a new adult-only area, a revitalized casino, and specialty coffee and juice bar. The returned to its regularly scheduled two-night sailings just in time for the holidays on December 23, 2017 from its homeport in West Palm Beach, Florida. Holiday festivities were schedule including an appearance by Santa and a special New Year’s Eve party will ring in 2018 in style.

Since late September, Grand Celebration had been chartered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was providing housing to first responders and National Guard members who were helping to rebuild the U.S. Virgin Islands following damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Maria.

The company also announced that its new 52,900 gross ton ship, set to arrive in April, will be named Grand Classica and will also sail two-night cruises to Grand Bahama Island. With this second ship, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will become the only Line to offer daily departures to the Bahamas from the Port of Palm Beach. The company signed a three-year agreement with the Bahamas to bring both of its ships to Grand Bahama Island for two-night cruises, as well as its signature Cruise & Resort Stay packages.

“We are pleased to have been able to assist those in need in the Caribbean. Now we are ready to return to offering memorable cruises to our guests. We are excited to welcome an even better Grand Celebration back to Palm Beach, just in time for the holidays, with several new spaces for our guests to enjoy,” said Oneil Khosa, chief executive officer of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “We are also looking forward to the arrival of our new ship, Grand Classica, in April, and have strengthened our relationship with The Bahamas by signing a three-year agreement to bring both ships to Grand Bahama Island, thus offering daily arrivals to Grand Bahama Island and giving our guests added convenience to fit their schedules.”

Grand Celebration Enhancements

The 1,900 passenger Grand Celebration will set sail on December 23 with the following upgrades:

• Expanded, Enhanced Casino – For those seeking lady luck at sea, Grand Celebration’s Par-A-Dice Casino has doubled in size, offering more slot machines, video poker and enhanced table games. Nearly 70 of the most popular slot games have been added to the casino, bringing the total number of slots to 125, in addition to several new video poker machines. The casino’s table games area, which include Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Three Card Poker and the Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, have been divided into two comfortable areas and now also include raised maximum betting limits, the ability to make additional wages while playing blackjack, and the addition of electronic roulette machines for those who like to play without a crowd watching.

• New Adult-Only Area – The forward sun deck at the top of the ship has now become The Oasis – a complimentary adult-only area for those ages 18 and over that want to relax and unwind in serenity. The expansive area includes a bar, a large hot tub, all new sun loungers and several outdoor daybeds.

• Specialty Coffee Bar and Juice Bar – Baristas will prepare specialty coffees and offer delectable gelato and pastries at the new Grand Café on Deck 9. Menu items feature a variety of hot or iced specialty coffees, teas and other beverages, including smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. In the morning, guests can indulge in chocolate croissants, Viennese pastries, muffins and quiche. Throughout the day, the Grand Café will offer delectable sweet treats, including delicious homemade gelato, sorbet, cakes, tarts, cupcakes and chocolate truffles. To celebrate the holidays, Grand Celebration has everything guests need to have a jolly time, with cruises departing every other day, beginning on Saturday, December 23 with sailings on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Special festive holiday menus will be available in the complimentary and specialty restaurants, and holiday decorations will adorn public areas

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.37 - 0.03%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.23 - 1.51%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.73 - 3.89%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.25 - 1.44%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
During warm weather duty in the 20's and 30's swimming pools suddenly appeared on the decks of transatlantic liners. How were these temporary pools constructed?

Answer - Temporary pools were usually heavy canvas lined open cargo hatches. Some with supported bottoms.
courtesy of Bill Deibert, Alexandria, VA.


Cruise News - December 25, 2017

MSC Cruises Names MSC Seaside At Star-Studded Ceremony At Portmiami
Last friday night, MSC Seaside was named in a glittering ceremony by international screen legend and Godmother for all MSC Cruises' ships, Sophia Loren. MSC Seaside, already recognized as one of the more innovative cruise ships in the industry, is the second ship to be launched in the past six months by the leading European cruise line as part of its industry-unprecedented 12 new mega-ships that MSC Cruises, the Switzerland-founded and based world's largest privately owned cruise line, will bring into service between 2017 and 2026.

"MSC Seaside's naming embodies a pivotal moment for MSC Cruises and the industry overall. She is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we have developed since we entered this industry only in 2003, and she introduces a wholly-innovative concept that has already set a new standard for the industry to follow," said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman. "The distinctive and unique Seaside Class is designed to bring guests closer to the sea to enjoy cruising in warm weather, while pushing the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology – the way only a cruise line with over 300 years of maritime tradition could have done."

"MSC Seaside has been designed to spearhead the next phase of our growth in North America, a cornerstone of our global strategy. She will be one of three MSC Cruises ships to homeport in Miami – MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina, one from each of our newest classes of ship. She marks our ambition to establish a significant presence in North America, after firmly rooting our position as number one cruise brand in Europe and having established a leading presence in other key cruise markets globally," added Mr. Vago.

MSC Cruises also announced a new partnership specifically for MSC Seaside and relevant for the North American market. The new partnership with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) where MSC Cruises' guest donations will support ABF's valuable work in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world currently facing exceptional challenges.

Every dollar donated on board by a guest will go directly to the Foundation to make a real difference, establishing schools that become community centers and launching projects such as the Mobile Clinic, providing health care assistance and prevention, clean water, lighting and agricultural development, transforming the lives of their communities.

Mr. Vago commented on the ABF partnership, "MSC Seaside will sail year around in the Caribbean, and with this partnership we wish to express our commitment to giving something back to the places where we operate. This charitable activity is in fact focused on helping the children of Haiti. They are the future and deserve the best and, as a family-owned company, this is a cause close to our hearts."

To mark the launch of the partnership with ABF, the world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli took to the stage during the naming ceremony with 30 children from the Voices of Haiti, a talented choir of Haitian school students aged between 6 and 14 that brings music into the schools of the ABF and St. Luke Foundation for Haiti.

"The sea is a place of freedom; it is the guardian of fascinating wonders, of answers that help us grow. Being an artist means being an explorer. It is therefore a particularly joyful opportunity for me to bring on board my singing and most importantly the voices, joy and enthusiasm of the children's choir the 'Voices of Haiti,'" said Andrea Bocelli. "This choir is the result of one of the educational projects carried out, in Haiti and beyond, by the Foundation bearing my name."

Mr. Bocelli continued, "MSC Cruises has always supported philanthropic projects and, in line with this tradition, MSC Seaside's naming marks a further inauguration: the launch of the partnership between MSC Cruises and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. It will therefore be possible to set sail together and to simultaneously begin a compelling adventure of solidarity, of getting to know each other and supporting our important initiatives while on board."

In collaboration with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, the project aims to reach over 2,550 children in five communities in Haiti.

High quality, international dining is one of the key highlights of the MSC Cruises offering for guests and MSC Seaside takes this to the next level with six specialty restaurants featuring concepts from around the globe. One of these is a brand new dining experience from pan-Asian chef and international culinary pioneer, Roy Yamaguchi, with whom MSC Cruises has partnered to create a new Asian-Fusion dining concept, Asian Market Kitchen.

To celebrate the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the Swiss-based global cruise line hosted a high-profile event in PortMiami and paid homage to traditional seafaring customs. Guests in attendance included guests from around the globe, including authorities and key partners from the travel industry, as well as US and global media alongside guests from closer to home.

Headlining the entertainment for the evening's Naming Ceremony was multiple GRAMMY and LATIN GRAMMY winner, Ricky Martin, who is well-known for his high-energy and thrilling performances that have captivated millions of people throughout the world. Beloved by fans worldwide for his instinctive understanding of rhythm, passion for performing, and equal compassion for giving, Ricky Martin truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.

Making a guest appearance at the event was Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who was with the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. Earlier this year, MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins and became the official cruise line for the team, further strengthening the cruise line's relationship with the South Florida community – where its US operations are based. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise on MSC Seaside in 2018. Marino presented MSC Cruises USA President Roberto Fusaro with a signed football helmet to be displayed on board as a symbol of the partnership.

The finale of the evening's events was the time-honored tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow of the ship as MSC Seaside was officially named aloud. As a company with a strong maritime heritage dating over 300 years, observing these seafaring traditions is important to MSC Cruises and bringing good luck to this new ship tonight, as always, was Sophia Loren as Godmother to her 12th MSC Cruises ship. As one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of our time, the glamorous screen-legend is practically part of the MSC Cruises family.

In charge of the whole evening's entertainment was actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. Lopez also welcomed guests to the star-lit festivities on the "Blue Carpet," where celebrities gave interviews, took photographs, and met the crowds. Lopez then took to the stage to host the evening's entertainment.

But the main star of the show was none other than MSC Seaside. Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will shine among Miami's skyline commanding attention with its revolutionary design. Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, the ship will be right at home in warm South Florida waters. Highly-innovative in design as well as on board features, the ship will feature world-class entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a gorgeous spa, outstanding family-friendly facilities, the private "ship within a ship" MSC Yacht Club, and expansive outdoor spaces. The striking MSC Seaside is just one more reason for guests from North America, and all over the world, to join MSC Cruises on an unforgettable trip that follows the sun.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23.

Celebrity Cruises’ Reveals 2019 Alaska Cruise Season Details
Sailing from Vancouver through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage to the iconic Hubbard Glacier and beyond, Celebrity Cruises’ 2019 Alaska cruise season features 13 unforgettable destinations, with more than 40 extended port visits and countless experiences. With three ships in the region – Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, and Celebrity Millennium – the brand’s expertly thought-out 7-night itineraries and in-depth shore excursions will bring guests up close and personal with all of Alaska’s must-see wonders.

“With Celebrity Millennium emerging fresh from the Celebrity Revolution – the largest investment the brand has ever made to modernize our fleet – longer port visits, and one-of-kind cruisetour experiences, our 2019 Alaska season is shaping up to be the most impressive yet,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Add to that the addition of Celebrity Eclipse and we have what promises to be an unrivaled season of unexpected splendor in the region.”

Celebrity Eclipse
Embark on round-trip sailings from Vancouver through the stunning Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and more. Guests can settle in with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket at The Lawn Club or on their spacious, private veranda, and watch the awe-inspiring scenery unfold before them. These are whale-breaching, breathtaking modern luxury sailings previously only offered on Celebrity Infinity.

A new eclipse is coming to the Pacific Coast in 2019 as well; Celebrity Eclipse is the perfect complement to this majestic stretch of coastline. Sail round-trip from Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, or from San Diego to Vancouver, on an array of seven- to nine-night Pacific Coastal sailings.

The 2019 Pacific Coastal season features 10 dazzling destinations, including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina, and more. Overnight stays in San Francisco mean guests can explore all the city’s must-sees, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Painted Ladies, head into the wine country and sample the best local vintages, and enjoy the legendary restaurant scene and nightlife.

Celebrity Millennium
Modern luxury travelers looking to venture farther into the vast expanse of the region can enjoy alternating open-jaw sailings out of Vancouver, British Columbia, or Seward, Alaska, aboard Celebrity Millennium.

Fresh from her multi-million-dollar revitalization, part of the Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Millennium returns to Alaska. Completely redesigned staterooms will make unwinding after a day of adventure easier than ever, and dazzlingly renovated public venues will be the perfect complement to the exciting destinations guests will visit along this Seward-to-Vancouver (or vice versa) route.

Celebrity Solstice
Once again, Celebrity Solstice embarks from the dynamic city of Seattle for a roundtrip exploration that visits Victoria, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and traverses the incredible Tracy Arm Fjord.

Under the starry Alaskan night sky, guests can enjoy the iconic gastronomic adventure A Taste of Film, which pairs films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests’ taste buds.

Martha Poulter Named Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer For Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) has named Martha Poulter senior vice president and chief information officer. Poulter joins RCL after spending the last 13 years of her career as CIO for major corporations such as Starwood Hotels and Resorts and GE Capital. Poulter will report directly to Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

"Martha certainly has the background to make a difference at Royal Caribbean," said Goldstein. "She'll bring that experience to bear on a full range of challenges here, including our plans to evolve the fleet's IT infrastructure, keep pace with the rapid evolution underway in important areas like data privacy and security, and ramp up support for the Excalibur digital transformation that is underway across our company."

Poulter most recently served as executive vice president and CIO for Starwood Hotel and Resorts, where she led a global IT team integrated across Starwood's nine brands and operational platforms, as well as serving as a member of Starwood's leadership team. Prior to that, Poulter spent nearly two decades at General Electric, including time as CIO of GE Capital.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to join Royal Caribbean, a company that stands for excellence and innovation in the travel industry," said Poulter. "Working with the IT team, we will help RCL develop and support the technologies necessary for running a global business in a digital world."

Poulter graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering and received her MBA from the University of New Haven.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.35 - 0.38%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.06 - 4.36%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.80 - 1.10%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.03 - 1.73%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
During warm weather duty in the 20's and 30's swimming pools suddenly appeared on the decks of transatlantic liners. How were these temporary pools constructed?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
The freighter Free State Mariner became a popular cruise ship after being rebuilt in 1952. What was her name after the conversion?

Answer - Built in 1952 she was bought by Matson in 1955 and renamed Monterey. She sailed South Pacific for Matson from 1957 to 1970, when she was transferred to Pacific Far East Lines continuing to sail to S. Pacific until 1978. Finally sold to Star Lauro Lines, which became MSC Cruises and sailed in European waters until 2006 when she was laid up with boiler troubles. Sold for scrap and reached Alang in Nov 2006
courtesy of Peter Cant, Vancouver BC


Cruise News - December 18, 2017

Royal Caribbean Cruise Passengers Killed In Mexico Bus Accident
Royal Caribbean Cruises confirmed that a number of cruise passengers from Serenade of the Seas and Celebrity Equinox were killed when the tour bus they were riding in overturned during a shore excursion in Costa Maya, Mexico on Tuesday.

"Our hearts go out to all those involved in the bus accident in Costa Maya. We are doing all we can to care for our guests, including assisting with medical care and transportation," a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said in a statement. "Our 27 guests from Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas were on a bus tour to the Chacchoben Ruins. We are working with the local authorities to learn more about the accident."

According to local new reports, at least 12 people were killed in the accident and more than 20 suffered various injuries. At the time of the incident, the tour bus was headed to the Chacchoben Mayan ruins which are located approximately 110 miles south of Tulum. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

The spokeswoman said Celebrity Equinox is on a seven-night Caribbean cruise that departed Port Miami on Saturday. The cruise is making stops in Key West, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

Serenade of the Seas ship is also on a seven-night Caribbean Cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale on Friday, with calls to Key West, Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Ponant Signs Contract For Electric Hybrid Cruise Icebreaker
Vard has secured a new Nkr2.7bn ($322.8m) contract to design and construct one polar expedition cruise vessel for French company Ponant.The electric hybrid cruise icebreaker features LNG propulsion and was developed by Ponant, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard.

It is designed to carry passengers to a variety of polar destinations such as the true geographic North Pole, the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island.

The new electric hybrid cruise icebreaker is equipped with dual fuel propulsion systems and features high-capacity batteries and LNG storage on-board. It will also be fitted with two helicopters in in-house hangars.

The Ponant icebreaker will weigh approximately 30,000 gross tonnes and is set to measure roughly 150m-long and 28m-wide. The vessel will have a cruising speed of 15k in open water and be capable of accommodating 270 passengers in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 180 personnel.

Vard CEO and executive director Roy Reite said: “This is a really exciting project for us, and we look forward to building the Ponant icebreaker for polar expedition voyages. “Vard has a deep experience in icebreaking technology; over generations, we have built several highly advanced vessels developed for operations in polar areas.”

The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania, while delivery of the completed vessel in scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway in the second quarter of 2021.

Vard is also constructing four luxury expedition cruise vessels for Ponant as part of a separate development.The first vessel in the series is planned to be delivered in the second quarter of next year, followed by the handover of the final three units between 2018 and 2019.

Carnival Corporation Reports Full Year And Fourth Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc announced U.S. GAAP net income for the full year 2017 of $2.6 billion, or $3.59 diluted EPS, compared to $2.8 billion, or $3.72 diluted EPS, for the prior year. Full year 2017 adjusted net income of $2.8 billion, or $3.82 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $2.6 billion, or $3.45 adjusted EPS, for the full year 2016. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $227 million and previously reported impairments and other net charges of $390 million for the full year 2017. For the full year 2016, adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $236 million and other net charges of $37 million. Revenues for the full year 2017 were $17.5 billion, $1.1 billion higher than the $16.4 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, "We exceeded the high end of our original full year 2017 guidance by $0.22 per share, achieving record cash from operations of $5.3 billion and another adjusted earnings per share record despite a significant drag from fuel and currency. Our full year performance was led by over 4.5 percent growth in ticket prices while overcoming a variety of headwinds, affirming that our core strategy, which is anchored in delivering exceptional guest experiences, driving demand through marketing programs to increase cruise consideration, and introducing new more efficient ships through measured capacity growth all while leveraging our scale, can deliver consistent earnings improvements."

2018 Outlook

At this time, cumulative advance bookings for full year 2018 are ahead of the prior year at higher prices. Since November, booking volumes for 2018 have been running well ahead of the prior year at higher prices.

Donald commented, "Despite booking disruptions from this year's multiple hurricanes, we are still heading into 2018 with a stronger base of business and higher prices than last year. We have numerous efforts underway to keep the momentum going in 2018 and beyond, from our innovative approaches to increase consideration for cruising, including our recently announced partnership with Univision, to the further roll-out of our state-of-the-art revenue management system. In 2018 we also look forward to the delivery of four new cutting-edge ships, Carnival Horizon, Seabourn Ovation, AIDAnova, and Nieuw Statendam to further our strategic fleet enhancement program."

Based on current booking trends, Carnival said that it expects full year 2018 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Carnival said that it expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 1.0 percent compared to the prior year.

As a result of higher fuel prices, forecasted fuel costs for the full year 2018 are expected to increase approximately $117 million compared to the prior year, net of realized fuel derivatives, reducing earnings by $0.16 per share. This is partially offset by favorable movements in currency exchange rates, which are forecasted to increase earnings by $0.08 per share.

Taking the above factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2018 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.00 to $4.30, compared to 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $3.82.

Donald added, "We remain on track to achieve double digit return on invested capital in 2018. We are committed to the continued distribution of cash to shareholders through increasing dividends, currently totaling $1.3 billion annually, and ongoing share repurchases, which have exceeded $3 billion since late 2015."

First Quarter 2018 Outlook

First quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the first quarter of 2018 are expected to increase by approximately 2.0 to 3.0 percent compared to the prior year. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and changes in currency exchange rates compared to prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.02 per share. Based on the above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter 2018 to be in the range of $0.37 to $0.41 versus 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $0.38.

Viking Sun Sets Sail On First World Cruise From Miami To London
Viking today celebrated the kickoff of its inaugural World Cruise on its fourth and newest ocean ship, Viking Sun®, welcoming guests in Miami for the sold out 141-day itinerary. Viking Sun will spend nearly the next five months on the World Cruise, which spans five continents, 35 countries and 64 ports. During this journey from Miami to London, guests will first explore Cuba and the Caribbean, before sailing the Panama Canal to call on Los Angeles, the home of Viking's U.S. headquarters and first West Coast port of call. Viking Sun will then sail to the South Pacific, Australia and Asia, where the ship will be christened in Shanghai on March 8, 2018. From there, Viking Sun will continue on with ports of call in Asia and then Europe, before finishing the World Cruise in London on May 5.

"Our World Cruises are the most extensive and culturally immersive journeys available in the industry. For two decades, we have continued to expand our destination-focused itineraries to new regions of the world, so as our fleet grows it is a natural progression for us to offer grand voyages of this scope for our guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "Our guests are experienced travelers who want to explore the world in comfort; our offerings allow them to be immersed be in the cultures of the world when they are onshore and when they are onboard our award-winning fleet of sister ships."

In addition to guests, also sailing on the World Cruise will be six casks of Viking's own "Linje" Aquavit. In keeping with a Norwegian tradition that dates back hundreds of years, the Scandinavian spirit will mature in oak barrels during the sailing, crossing the equator (linje) twice as part of the maturation process. According to the tradition, it is believed that the moving seas and frequent temperature changes cause more flavor to be extracted from the casks.

Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe during Viking's 2019 World Cruise. The recently announced 128-day itinerary from Miami to London, will visit five continents and immerse guests in the rich cultures of 21 countries from South America and the South Pacific to Australia and Africa. Like on all Viking itineraries, World Cruise guests will enjoy a complimentary shore excursion in each of the 64 ports and free unlimited Wi-Fi; they will also receive Business Class airfare and all gratuities and service fees, along with an extensive list of added-value inclusions in their cruise fare.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests

Carnival Fascination To Undergo Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock
Carnival Fascination will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that will add a variety of popular food and beverage innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, Cherry on Top sweets shop, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and a Bonsai Sushi Express venue.

The spaces will be added during a two-week dry dock taking place Feb. 4-17, 2018, in Freeport, The Bahamas, prior to the ship resuming its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning Feb. 18, 2018. Carnival Fascination is currently being chartered to FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

“We can’t wait for our guests to experience these exciting new features aboard Carnival Fascination when she returns to her year-round homeport of San Juan early next year,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, adding that other Carnival ships began visiting San Juan as a port of call Nov. 30.

The new F&B options aboard Carnival Fascination include:

• Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.

• Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

• Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.

• Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These new options complement popular attractions like a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide, Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and myriad entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games.

Carnival Fascination’s year-round schedule from San Juan encompasses week-long sailings to five Caribbean islands: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Summer 2019 Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the fleet’s exciting lineup of summer 2019 itineraries, featuring some of the world’s hottest summer destinations. Norwegian’s signature cruising experience, which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal vacation, will be available around the globe with five ships sailing in Europe; three cruising to Alaska; two calling on Bermuda; as well as itineraries that include the Bahamas & Florida, the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Hawaiian islands. Guests who cruise with Norwegian enjoy a resort-style vacation on some of the youngest ships at sea; they unpack once, then relax as they travel to paradise aboard innovative and action-packed ships that offer up to 27 delicious dining options, Broadway entertainment, more than 20 bars and lounges serving up contemporary craft cocktails and much more. Norwegian’s new itineraries are open for sale now for returning guests and will be available tomorrow, December 20, to the general public.

"We have carefully crafted a mix of itineraries for summer 2019 that provide our guests with an incredible array of cruise vacation experiences in some of the most sought-after destinations across the globe," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "With exotic cultural-centric cruises in Europe, adventure opportunities in Alaska and quintessential summer beach getaways in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Line’s itinerary options will fulfill every summer travel wish list."

Alaska
The youngest fleet to sail to the breathtaking glaciers of Alaska will once again return to the region in summer 2019, with Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel all cruising to the Last Frontier. After making her debut in summer 2018, Norwegian Bliss will return for her second Alaska season, sailing exciting new seven-day Glacier Bay voyages departing each Sunday from Seattle beginning May 5 through September 22, 2019. The largest and most innovative ship to sail to Alaska, Norwegian Bliss is the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including extensive observation lounges and an expansive waterfront featuring dining and lounges. Norwegian Pearl, which recently underwent an extensive renovation earlier this year as a part of the Norwegian Edge® program, will sail seven-day Alaska cruises from Seattle departing on Saturdays from May 18 through September 21. Rounding out the Alaska fleet, Norwegian Jewel will return to Vancouver and Seward after a bow to stern enhancement in fall 2018 to sail her incredibly popular seven-day Glacier Bay northbound and Inside Passage southbound Alaska highlights voyages, offering guests the opportunity to combine back-to-back sailings for an immersive 14-day roundtrip cruise.

Bahamas & Florida
For time since 2010, Norwegian Dawn will return to her very first homeport of New York City as essentially a new ship, after undergoing bow to stern enhancements in late 2016. Norwegian Dawn will set sail from Manhattan on seven-day cruises to the Bahamas & Florida, bringing guests the best of beaches, theme parks and sunshine from May 25 to August 31, 2019.

Bermuda
In summer 2019, Norwegian will once again offer guests two convenient departure ports from which to set sail for the pink sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of Bermuda. Guests sailing from Boston will enjoy exploring this exotic Atlantic island from a newer and larger ship, Norwegian Gem, a popular Jewel-class ship that will homeport in Beantown from March 29 through November 8, 2019. Norwegian Escape, which moves to New York City for summer 2018, will continue her stay in the Big Apple through the summer 2019 season, sailing to Bermuda from April 14 until October 20, 2019. Both Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Escape will offer the perfect summer city getaway, with seven-day cruises to Bermuda featuring three full days in port and two overnight stays, so guests can experience the beautiful British territory at their leisure.

Canada & New England
Early summer is the best time to enjoy the beauty and stunning scenery of New England and coastal Canada. Norwegian Dawn will offer four, seven-day cruises to this spectacular coast line in May and June 2019, with calls in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island.

Caribbean
After returning from her first winter season in New Orleans, Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from the Big Easy to the cruise capital of the world, PortMiami, for the first time ever. As one of the largest ships in the fleet, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway will homeport in Miami for her summer 2019 season and cruise a mix of Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Norwegian Breakaway’s seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries will visit Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and the beautiful island destination of Harvest Caye, Belize. Norwegian Breakaway’s seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary will feature some of the region’s most popular ports-of-call including St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI; Nassau, Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Europe
The romance, history and charm of Europe will be on full display for guests exploring the region aboard Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Spirit.

After a one year hiatus, Norwegian Getaway will once again return to the Baltic, sailing incredibly popular bucket list itineraries departing from Copenhagen that feature several calls in Scandinavia with an overnight in Russia. From June 7 through August 27, 2019, Norwegian Getaway will sail a variety of nine-day sailings with ports-of-call that include Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia and a day cruising past the Stockholm Archipelago.

The popular Norwegian Epic will return to Europe in summer 2019 to sail seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises, with embarkation available in either Barcelona and Rome (Civitavecchia), showcasing the best of Italy, France and Spain. With departures from May 12 through November 3, 2019, guests sailing aboard Norwegian Epic’s seven-day Western Europe cruises will be delighted by some of the most culturally rich and iconic destinations in the world. Guests will also enjoy 22 dining options, 20 bars and lounges, vibrant Broadway entertainment including Priscilla Queen of the Dessert: The Musical and Burn the Floor, and more.

Following an extensive renovation in 2017, Norwegian Jade will spend her summer 2019 season cruising the azure blue waters of the Greek Isles & Italy from May 12 through October 24, 2019. Norwegian Jade’s 10- and 11-day itineraries from Rome (Civitavecchia) will feature a look into some of the world’s most ancient civilizations with calls in Santorini, Athens (Piraeus), Mykonos, and Crete (Chania), Greece; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; as well as Naples and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy. Norwegian Star, which will undergo a refurbishment in spring 2018, will also sail the Greek Isles and Eastern Mediterranean, offering primarily seven-day cruises with a small selection of nine-, 10-, 11-, and 12-day sailings departing from Venice, Italy from May 12 through November 10, 2019. Norwegian Star will call on some of Greece’s most enchanting island destinations including Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Cephalonia, as well as the outstanding Adriatic destinations of Kotor, Montenegro and Dubrovnik, Croatia on the glimmering Dalmatian Coast.

Norwegian Spirit will home port in Southampton for the summer of 2019 and sail a selection of 10-day or longer once-in-a-lifetime itineraries journeying to the British Isles, Iceland, Norwegian Fjords, the Arctic Circle, and the Baltics. Full itinerary details will be released when the ship opens for sale in mid-January.

Hawaii
As one of the most sought-after tropical and culturally-rich destinations in the world, the islands of Hawaii are best experienced by sea. And Norwegian is the only cruise line that offers a seven-day inter-island itinerary, on the US-flagged Pride of America. Guests will cruise through paradise on a dream vacation with a one-of-a-kind itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time in Hawaii’s main islands, including an overnight in Kahului, Maui; a call in Hilo; Kailua, Kona; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kauai; and an afternoon cruising past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast. Norwegian’s Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday through April 2021.

Launch of the Glory Sea Brings More International Cruise Routes to Haikou
On Christmas Day, Glory Sea will begin sailing to Vietnam's Ha Long Bay from China's "Coconut City," Haikou, after which the ship's owner, Diamond Cruise International Co., will add other destinations, including Da Nang and Nha Trang, as well as Manila and Boracay in the Philippines, in offerings that will last until May 2018.

The new cruises will allow Chinese tourists to immerse themselves in the culture and history of Vietnam and the Philippines, while also attracting tourists from the Southeast Asian nations to Haikou, the sunny Chinese city known for its charming tropical beaches and lush, natural environment.

The new Glory Sea offerings include two-night itineraries to Ha Long Bay, two-night sailings visiting Da Nang, three-night journeys to Ha Noi, four-night voyages to Nha Trang, and five-night offerings to Boracay.

"We work hard to promote better communication and connections with China's neighboring countries and regions, and to provide more options for both inbound and outbound tourists along short-distance leisure routes," said Delin Wen, Researcher of Haikou Tourism Development Commission, "We believe that the new travel opportunities brought by the Glory Sea offer more opportunities for valuable cultural exchange, as well as lots of excitement and fun for tourists."

Diamond Cruise International provides world-class cruise services and pushes the envelope of what is possible on a cruise ship. Executives from the company said in the cruise-line launching news conference that they will deepen their cooperation with Haikou and explore options for expanding the cruise vacationing market in Hainan Province and its neighboring countries and regions.

Built in Germany in 2002 and renovated in May 2016, Glory Sea is the first cruise ship owned by Diamond Cruise International. The ship, 180.45 meters long and 28 meters wide, boasts 8 levels of decks, travels at 22 kn (maximum 28 kn), and can accommodate as many as 1,300 passengers.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.6 - 0.64%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 126.58 + 0.90%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.82 - 2.67%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.98 + 0.48%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
The freighter Free State Mariner became a popular cruise ship after being rebuilt in 1952. What was her name after the conversion?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
If you were departing on a transatlantic crossing from Pier 90 in New York City in the early 1950's, what shipping company would you most likely have been traveling on?

Answer - In the 1950's when you leave the pier 90, you were on a CUNARD's Ocean Liner...
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - December 11, 2017

MSC Seaside U.S. Naming Ceremony to Feature Star Studded Line-Up in PortMiami
Today MSC Cruises announced the line-up for the official launch and Naming Ceremony of MSC Seaside, which will be held on December 21st in PortMiami. As part of the traditional Naming Ceremony that is held for every new ship, MSC will welcome special guests and entertainment, Miami authorities, global media, and key partners from across the travel industry. For this very special Miami launch, MSC Cruises is proud to reveal an international list of celebrated invitees that reflects the Company's European heritage and global presence.

Headlining entertainment for the event will be international superstar, Ricky Martin, who will perform some of his most popular hits. Renowned for bringing Latin music to the forefront of popular music, Ricky Martin is a worldwide star who has recorded in many languages, and truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.

Also taking to the stage will be world-famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli, whose dazzling classical career has taken him all over the world – including performances for four U.S. presidents, three Popes, the British Royal Family, and several Prime Ministers, to name just a few.

Making a guest appearance at the event will be Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who played for the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins in October of this year, becoming the official cruise line for the team and further strengthening its relationship with the South Florida community. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise aboard MSC Seaside in 2018.

In charge of it all will be actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Lopez will welcome guests to the star-lit festivities on MSC's "Blue Carpet," where celebrities will give interviews, take photographs, and meet the crowds. Lopez will then take to the stage to host the evening's entertainment.

An MSC Cruises' Naming Ceremony would not be complete without the ship's Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honored tradition since 2003. As one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of our time, the glamorous Sophia Loren will christen the ship with a ribbon-cutting and officially name the spectacular vessel, MSC Seaside.

But the main star of the show will be none other than MSC Seaside. Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will shine among Miami's skyline – commanding attention with its revolutionary design. Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, the ship will be right at home in warm South Florida waters. The state-of-the-art ship will offer world-class entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a gorgeous spa, outstanding facilities for families, a private yacht club (MSC Yacht Club), and expansive outdoor spaces.

Carnival To Bring Newer, Larger Ship To Charleston In May 2019
Carnival Cruise Line will position a newer, larger ship to Charleston when the 3,002-passenger Carnival Sunshine kicks off a year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises in May 2019.

Carnival Sunshine provides an exciting new vacation choice from Charleston and features one of the widest arrays of food, beverage and entertainment options within the Carnival fleet, including spectacular open-air attractions like the WaterWorks aqua park and SportSquare recreation area, a stunning three-deck-high adults-only retreat featuring a waterfall and adjoining pool, several specialty restaurants and more than 550 staterooms with private balconies.

"With its convenient location and strong tourism appeal, Charleston is one of our most popular homeports and we're delighted to build upon this success with the deployment of Carnival Sunshine," Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Sunshine not only provides guests sailing from Charleston with a newer, larger ship with so much to see and do but also underscores our commitment to our year-round operations from this port," she added.

Added Jim Newsome, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) president and CEO, "The decision by Carnival Cruise Line to homeport the Carnival Sunshine in Charleston is an important affirmation of their success and commitment to operations in Charleston. SCPA's cruise business is an important part of our maritime commerce mission and diversification of business segments. The Port succeeds through having world-class brands, such as Carnival Cruise Line, as its direct customers and looks forward to continuing this productive relationship."

Carnival Sunshine will kick off its four- and five-day cruise program from Charleston May 18, 2019, and is expected to carry approximately 220,000 passengers annually from that port.

Four-day cruises will visit the Bahamian capital of Nassau while five-day voyages will feature Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay. Each of these destinations offers world-class beaches and excellent water sports opportunities, including kayaking, paddle-boarding and snorkeling.

Guests sailing aboard Carnival Sunshine can enjoy a tantalizing array of food and beverage choices, including Ji Ji Asian Kitchen with an extensive menu of Far East favorites, Havana Bar offering refreshing Cuban cocktails and live Latin music, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, and Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

The ship's family-friendly options include Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Hasbro, The Game Show with larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic games, and complimentary children's programs for kids in three age groups. Entertainment and activity choices are just as varied with high-tech Playlist Productions revues, the Punchliner Comedy Club offering adults-only and family-friendly performances, legendary deck parties and live musical performances throughout the ship.

Top-deck attractions include WaterWorks highlighted by Speedway Splash with its dual-racing slides, SportSquare with a suspended ropes course offering breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, a miniature golf course, and a three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat with oversized umbrellas, and comfortable chaise lounges and chairs, as well as a waterfall and its own pool.

In addition to the short cruise program from Charleston, Carnival Sunshine will operate an 11-day Carnival Journeys cruise round-trip from Charleston Dec. 3-14, 2019, calling at St. Thomas, Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. In addition to visiting spectacular destinations, the longer-length Carnival Journeys cruises offer unique on-board experiences where guests can enjoy local cuisine, entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking and arts and crafts and a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day" will be offered, as well.

Carnival Ecstasy, which currently sails from Charleston, will shift to Jacksonville, Fla., to operate year-round four- and five-day cruises beginning in May 2019. Carnival Elation, currently based in Jacksonville, will reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., in May 2019, as well, to operate a new schedule of four- and five-day voyages, providing an exciting new vacation option from the Space Coast.

HAL Celebrates a Milestone for Newbuild Nieuw Statendam
In anticipation of the upcoming float-out of ms Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line held the ship's coin ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. Following Italian shipbuilding tradition, Anne Marie Bartels, a member of Holland America Line's esteemed President's Club, served as the ship's Madrina and participated in the festivities.

During the coin ceremony, observed to bring good fortune, a Dutch guilder was welded to the forward mast of the ship by Bartels; Antonio Quintano, director of the Fincantieri Marghera Shipyard; and Keith Taylor, executive vice president, fleet operations for Holland America Group, followed by speeches and a blessing by the shipyard chaplain. Cyril Tatar, Holland America Group's vice president of newbuilding services, also was in attendance. The Dutch Guilder brings sentiment and history to the newbuild — it is from 1898, the year Holland America Line's first Statendam came into service.

"The coin ceremony is one of the most time-honored traditions in the building of a ship, and having Anne Marie, one of our most valued guests, serve as Madrina makes the celebration all the more special," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Nieuw Statendam reflects the next generation in our brand evolution while maintaining the classic hallmarks we are known for. By placing an authentic Dutch guilder in the hull from the year our first ship named Statendam came into service is a meaningful way to build that bridge from our past to our future."

Bartels first sailed with Holland America Line on the s.s. Nieuw Amsterdam from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to New York, New York, when she was 21 years old. She has since been on 79 Holland America Line cruises, including 12 Grand Voyages. Bartels has more than 2,500 cruising days with the line, which gives her elite President's Club status for guests with more than 2,500 days on board.

During the festivities a drydock gate was opened briefly and water touched Nieuw Statendam's hull for the first time as is tradition during the coin ceremony. On December 21, 2017, the ship will be fully floated out and move to an outfitting pier.

Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining ms Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016 from the same shipyard in Marghera. A third Pinnacle Class ship will set sail for the cruise line in 2021.

The 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten. The ship will carry 2,660 guests and feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-class design: grand light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line's first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company's history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic "Statendam," Holland America Line is celebrating the company's past, present and future.

Celebrity Announces 2019-20 Alaskan and Pacific Coastal Itineraries
Sailing from Vancouver through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage to the iconic Hubbard Glacier and beyond, Celebrity Cruises’ 2019 Alaska cruise season features 13 unforgettable destinations, with more than 40 extended port visits and countless experiences. With three ships in the region – Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, and Celebrity Millennium – the brand’s expertly thought-out 7-night itineraries and in-depth shore excursions will bring guests up close and personal with all of Alaska’s must-see wonders.

“With Celebrity Millennium emerging fresh from the Celebrity Revolution – the largest investment the brand has ever made to modernize our fleet – longer port visits, and one-of-kind cruisetour experiences, our 2019 Alaska season is shaping up to be the most impressive yet,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Add to that the addition of Celebrity Eclipse and we have what promises to be an unrivaled season of unexpected splendor in the region.”

Celebrity Eclipse
Embark on round-trip sailings from Vancouver through the stunning Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and more. Guests can settle in with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket at The Lawn Club or on their spacious, private veranda, and watch the awe-inspiring scenery unfold before them. These are whale-breaching, breathtaking modern luxury sailings previously only offered on Celebrity Infinity.

A new eclipse is coming to the Pacific Coast in 2019 as well; Celebrity Eclipse is the perfect complement to this majestic stretch of coastline. Sail round-trip from Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, or from San Diego to Vancouver, on an array of seven- to nine-night Pacific Coastal sailings.

The 2019 Pacific Coastal season features 10 dazzling destinations, including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina, and more. Overnight stays in San Francisco mean guests can explore all the city’s must-sees, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Painted Ladies, head into the wine country and sample the best local vintages, and enjoy the legendary restaurant scene and nightlife.

Celebrity Millennium
Modern luxury travelers looking to venture farther into the vast expanse of the region can enjoy alternating open-jaw sailings out of Vancouver, British Columbia, or Seward, Alaska, aboard Celebrity Millennium. F

resh from her multi-million-dollar revitalization, part of the Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Millennium returns to Alaska. Completely redesigned staterooms will make unwinding after a day of adventure easier than ever, and dazzlingly renovated public venues will be the perfect complement to the exciting destinations guests will visit along this Seward-to-Vancouver (or vice versa) route.

Celebrity Solstice
Once again, Celebrity Solstice embarks from the dynamic city of Seattle for a roundtrip exploration that visits Victoria, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and traverses the incredible Tracy Arm Fjord.

Under the starry Alaskan night sky, guests can enjoy the iconic gastronomic adventure A Taste of Film, which pairs films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests’ taste buds.

Cruisetour Experiences
Guests looking for a more in-depth encounter with Alaska are invited to embark on a Celebrity Alaska Cruisetour; pair a modern luxury Alaska sailing with a guided land tour that takes them deep into the heart of Alaska, complete with luxury motor coaches, glass-domed trains, authentic lodging, and a knowledgeable, local tour director who’s with them every step of the way. With 11 Alaska Cruisetours to choose from, ranging from nine to 13 nights, Celebrity offers Alaskan adventures for every modern explorer.

Cruising with Norwegian: There's an App for That
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today the introduction of the next generation of its booked guest mobile application, the Cruise Norwegian app. Designed to be the ideal travel companion from time of booking to day of disembarkation, the new Cruise Norwegian app features a multitude of functions that help provide a stress-free vacation experience, helping guests make the most of their time on and off the ship as well as stay connected with their friends and family both on board and back home.

"Whether they're 60 days from their sail date or in the middle of their cruise, the Cruise Norwegian app brings seamless anytime-access to a myriad of onboard offerings, services and activities right into the palms of our guests' hands," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "Once on board, the Cruise Norwegian app will allow guests to continue customizing their ideal cruise experience and view or manage their existing account information, allowing them to maximize their time and spend it on the things they enjoy the most."

With the Cruise Norwegian app, guests' dream cruise vacation is right at their fingertips with the capability to preview and book shore excursions, make dining and entertainment reservations, purchase onboard packages such as dining and beverage packages or special occasion packages before they cruise. Helping provide a stress-free embarkation day, the Cruise Norwegian app provides directions to the port and with mobile online check-in functionality guests can save time at the pier and have a paperless boarding process with mobile e-docs.

Once on board, guests can use the Cruise Norwegian app complimentary by connecting to the ship's wifi to stay up-to-date on what's happening on board. The app allows guests to make reservations for their favorite Broadway-style shows, snag a seat for a mouthwatering dinner at one of Norwegian's many Freestyle dining restaurants and book their next in-port adventure on a shore excursion. Friends and family can stay connected on board using the Cruise Norwegian app, which features unlimited onboard calls and messages for a one-time fee of $9.95. Groups can organize meet ups and share their favorite photos with everyone in their party with group messaging through the app. Those wishing to check-in with loved ones back home can make calls through the Cruise Norwegian app for a nominal fee of $0.79 per minute for outbound calls to nearly every country in the world.

Before disembarking the ship, guests using the app can track and review their onboard purchases, as well as view helpful disembarkation information including immigration and Easy Walk-off details. Those dreaming of their next cruise vacation can view information about Norwegian's Cruise Next program and review their Latitudes Rewards points and learn about onboard tier benefits.

The free Cruise Norwegian app is currently available for use on cruises aboard Norwegian Sky. The new app will be available on board Norwegian's newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, when she launches in summer 2018, and will be available fleet wide by yearend 2018.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.03 - 0.33%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.45 + 0.30%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.97 + 2.19%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.72 - 1.25%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
If you were departing on a transatlantic crossing from Pier 90 in New York City in the early 1950's, what shipping company would you most likely have been traveling on?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Cunard Line's MEDIA, built in 1948....but the stabilizers were added later
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - December 4, 2017

Princess Cruises to Name Next Ship Sky Princess
Princess Cruises announced today its fourth Royal-class ship will be named Sky Princess. Sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, Sky Princess is scheduled to debut in October 2019 on a series of Mediterranean voyages.

The 143,700 ton, 3,660-passenger vessel will feature an evolution of the successful design platform used for previous Royal-class ships. Sky Princess will include signature elements that have become synonymous with the brand's best-in-class guest experience, and bring together the best features found on her Royal-class sister ships – Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. Highlights will include a soaring central Piazza-style atrium, Princess Live! entertainment venue, the relaxing adults-only Sanctuary, Camp Discovery youth and teen centers, and a wide variety of guest-favorite dining venues including the Salty Dog Grill, Alfredo's Pizzeria, Vines Wine Bar, Chef's Table Lumiere, and World Fresh Marketplace, with updated décor and design throughout the ship. Sky Princess will also feature the outdoor "Movies Under the Stars" theater, and 80 percent of all staterooms will have balconies. Finally, some exciting new innovations which will enhance the guest experience even further will be revealed in the coming months.

"Sky Princess continues a Princess Cruises legacy and honors one of our previous ships," said Jan Swartz, group president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia. "When Princess merged with Sitmar Cruises in 1988, Sky Princess joined our fleet and sailed with us for 12 years. Now more than 30 years later, a new Sky Princess will join the fleet featuring our modern design platform and contemporary innovations offered to exceed our guests' expectations."

The inaugural Mediterranean deployment of Sky Princess features 10 cruise departures on eight unique itineraries. First up, is a seven-day Mediterranean & Adriatic cruise from Athens (Piraeus) to Barcelona departing on October 20, 2019. This voyage is combinable with a seven-day Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome (Civitavecchia) voyage for a 14-day Inaugural Western Mediterranean & Adriatic Medley from Athens to Rome.

In addition, Sky Princess will sail on a new seven-day Mediterranean roundtrip Rome voyage, combinable with a seven-day Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome for a 14-day Western Mediterranean Medley voyage calling in some of the most iconic ports in the Mediterranean Sea.

The culmination of Sky Princess' inaugural Mediterranean season will be a 14-day Spanish Passage from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale, combinable with the seven-day Mediterranean and/or the seven-day Mediterranean roundtrip Rome voyages for an epic 21-day or 28-day Grand Adventure across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

MSC Seaside Preparing to Sail from Miami
Today in the port of Trieste, MSC Cruises celebrated the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the new flagship for MSC Cruises, as she prepares to welcome the first guests and cross the Atlantic for her new home in Miami. MSC Seaside is the Company's 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the second MSC Cruises ship to come into service in 2017 under the Company's industry-unprecedented investment plan.

MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed specifically for sun lovers and to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the sea. The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine and enjoy the outdoors, which are the highlights of a cruise vacation. This is now the fifth new prototype from MSC Cruises, and each and every new ship is designed to further enhance the cruise experience, bringing something unique and different every time.

Unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will be the new star of Miami, truly recognizable and with a distinctive design inspired by a Miami beach condo. But it is not just the design of this ship that sets her apart, but also the on board experience that distinguishes an MSC Cruises getaway. MSC Seaside will offer world-class entertainment, a host of new international dining concepts, outstanding facilities for families, the MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering, and much more. These diverse features will differentiate the MSC Cruises brand and cruise experience in the North American market. Some of the main highlights of MSC Seaside include:

Unique design features - Inspired by the beach condos that have made Miami famous, MSC Seaside has a number of distinctive and innovative design features unlike any other ship. Two unique glass-floored catwalks and a 131 ft. high 'Bridge of Sighs' give guests a view of the ocean like never before. A waterfront boardwalk, the widest on any ship ever built, wraps around the ship, while panoramic elevators connect everything together.

A connected cruise experience - MSC for Me is the digital innovation program that uses the latest cutting-edge technology to connect travelers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

Variety of accommodation - Developed to provide the perfect accommodation for every type of guest, the ship offers flexible modular staterooms for groups of up to ten guests, exclusive aft corner suites with stunning sea views, terraced balcony staterooms with extended private terraces overlooking the waterfront boardwalk and luxurious suites with their own outdoor whirlpool bath.

Rich and varied entertainment - MSC Seaside doesn't just feature a full-sized bowling alley, XD cinema and the longest zip line at sea, but also the most interactive aqua park at sea with five water attractions: the first cruise ship Slideboarding™ attraction, 525 ft. long duelling body slides and two spray areas for kids. There is never a dull moment on board!

Extensive dining options - MSC Seaside will offer an extensive choice of indoor and outdoor dining venues with a tempting range of international restaurants. One of the highlights is Asian Market Kitchen from renowned Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi. Other highlights include a luxury seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay, an authentic American-style steakhouse, the Butcher's Cut, and a new French bistro, La Bohème.

Outstanding facilities and services for families and kids of all ages - MSC Seaside features brand new entertainment on top of everything families have already come to expect from MSC Cruises. As well as all-day kids' entertainment and six dedicated areas for babies and kids of all ages, guests can also take part in the brand new DOREMI Family Cinema and a new exciting buzzer game.

MSC Seaside will depart Trieste on December 1st, making a 21 day trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in PortMiami, her new home on December 21st. That evening, the new MSC Cruises flagship will be officially named in a glittering ceremony. And, no MSC Cruises naming ceremony would be complete without the Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honored tradition since 2003.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23, 2017.

Carnival Cruise Line's New 133,500-Ton Vista-Class Ship To Be Named Carnival Panorama
Carnival Panorama has been chosen as the name of Carnival Cruise Line's new 133,500-ton ship scheduled to debut in fall 2019.

Carnival Panorama is the third in the line's highly successful Vista-class series, which are all named to reflect the connection between the vessels and the sea and highlighted by stunning indoor/outdoor spaces that create a truly unique seagoing vacation experience.

Carnival Panorama will join its sister ships – Carnival Vista, which entered service in 2016, and Carnival Horizon, set to debut April 2, 2018. The three 3,954-passenger Vista-class ships are the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Line.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will include venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi, along with open-air attractions like the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area.

Also featured will be a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge, a luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and Ocean Plaza, a spacious dining and entertainment venue with indoor and outdoor seating.

"Carnival Panorama is the perfect name to reflect the design inspiration of our Vista-class ships providing more venues and opportunities to connect with the sea," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Panorama will offer a wide variety of fun indoor and outdoor experiences along with exciting one-of-a-kind features that will provide our guests with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories," she added.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy, Carnival Panorama is scheduled to enter service in November 2019. Homeport and itinerary along with other new features of this ship will be announced at a later date.

Royal Caribbean Expands Sailings to Cuba in 2018
Royal Caribbean International will double its opportunities for a Cuba adventure next summer, with two ships sailing to the island nation – Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas – and two new destinations added to itineraries. The added sailings and breadth of experiences at the new ports of Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos on the southeast coast give adventure seekers even more ways to immerse themselves in the culture and history of the vibrant island. Cuba's historic cities of Havana, Santiago and Cienfuegos will be amongst the destinations on an array of 4- to 8-night Caribbean adventures on Empress of the Seas that open for sale today.

Salsa music, dominoes, Mojitos and the storied historic cities of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba are easier to reach than ever before for guests on Royal Caribbean International. Beginning in summer 2018, the global cruise line will double its opportunities for a Cuba adventure, with two ships sailing to the island nation – Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas – and two new destinations added to itineraries.

Departing from Miami year-round, Empress cruise vacations will include 7-night Best of Cuba itineraries to Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau, Bahamas; 5-night sailings visiting Key West, Florida and spending the night in Havana; and an immersive 8-night journey to Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, and Labadee, Haiti. Majesty of the Seas will continue the 4- and 5-night offerings to Havana that include day and overnight stays, departing from Tampa from April to October 2018, and Ft. Lauderdale from November 2018 to March 2019. All sailings to Cuba will offer shore excursions designed for guests to experience the destination and to comply with the people-to-people educational exchange activities requirement as set forth in the U.S. regulations.

"Cuba is such an important part of Caribbean culture, and we can't wait to call on Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos next year, showcasing even more of the country's scenic beauty, rich history and distinctive architecture," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Cruising remains the easiest way to visit Cuba, and with both Empress and Majesty sailing there in 2018 and 2019, we hope to make it that much easier for adventure seekers to experience the legendary island."

Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site established in 1819 with a wide array of visually-stunning attractions, including acclaimed Botanical Gardens with more than 2,000 plant species on display, impressive neoclassical architecture, a 950-seat opera house and the bustling Santa Isabel Boulevard.

Santiago de Cuba is a gateway to Cuba's revolutionary and religious history, with adventures such as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Castillo del Morroto, the Sierra Maestra foothills, El Cobre – one of the most significant religious destinations in Cuba – and historic sites like Revolution Square.

Cuban culture is reflected throughout Empress of the Seas with cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal, salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, and a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life while at sea. Empress of the Seas spans 11 guest decks, encompasses 48,563 gross registered tons, carries 1,602 guests at double occupancy and features 795 staterooms.

Princess Celebrates 50th Year of Alaska Cruises with Largest Deployment Ever in 2019
Princess Cruises, the leader in Alaska for the 2019 season, is celebrating 50 years sailing to the Great Land with its largest deployment ever featuring the debut of Royal Princess. With 2019 cruises and cruisetours on sale December 14, 2017, all guests in North America, Asia and Australia can take advantage of a 50 percent reduced deposit for any 2019 Alaska voyage in celebration of our 50th anniversary sailing in the Great Land.

Seven Princess Cruises ships will sail to Alaska with the inaugural season of Royal Princess, bringing the largest Princess ship ever to sail the region. In addition, 76 percent of all voyages sail to Glacier Bay National Park. To enhance the cruise experience and to see more of Alaska, guests can also choose from more than 23 cruisetours while visiting Princess Wilderness Lodges and another must-see national park - Denali National Park.

"Our upcoming 2019 Alaska season marks our 50th year taking guests to this bucket-list destination, that for most is a life-changing experience offering breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring moments," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "In 1969, Princess Italia was our first ship to bring 525 passengers to Alaska. In 2019, we will mark another milestone by bringing Royal Princess, our largest ship ever deployed to this region, with more than 3,500 guests."

While on board, guests will encounter a variety of ways to engage in authentic experiences through the award-winning North to Alaska program, featuring Cook My Catch, an exclusive culinary program allowing guests to return from select Princess fishing excursions to have the chef prepare their very own catch of the day. Also offered is the crowd-favorite Puppies in the Piazza, where real Alaska sled dog puppies are brought on board in Skagway for guests to interact with.

The 2019 program also features the first full season of an exclusive treehouse experience at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's Treehouse Masters. In addition, lodge guests will hear first-hand tales from mountain climbers who have conquered Denali as they tell the exhilarating stories of their journey in the Hudson Theater.

Highlights of the 2019 May–September Alaska program include:

Alaska Cruises

• Voyage of the Glaciers – Princess' most popular sailings between Vancouver and Whittier features two glacier-viewing experiences on every voyage, with visits to the UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park plus either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord. These seven -day cruises are offered aboard Royal Princess and Golden Princess (departing Saturdays) and Coral Princess and Island Princess (departing Wednesdays). Every northbound Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary on Island Princess includes Icy Strait Point.

• Inside Passage –This awe-inspiring part of Alaska, known for its lush scenery and pristine fjords, will be featured on seven-, 10- and 12-day roundtrip voyages from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles:
• Seven-Day Roundtrip Seattle – Ruby Princess departs on Saturdays and sails to Glacier Bay. Star Princess departs on Sundays and visits Tracy Arm Fjord. All Inside Passage voyages from Seattle offer More Ashore late-night calls in Juneau.
• 10-day Roundtrip San Francisco – Grand Princess
• 12-day Roundtrip Los Angeles – Three voyages aboard Royal Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess
• Roundtrip Cruises from Vancouver - Four seven-day Inside Passage sailings on Coral Princess, Island Princess and Golden Princess; Two four-day Alaska Samplers on Golden Princess and one five-day Alaska Sampler on Island Princess.

Alaska Cruisetours

In 2019, Princess will offer guests more than 23 cruisetours to experience more of the Great Land. Combine a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise with three to eight nights on land with stays at Princess Wilderness Lodges, exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service, plus visits to the top two attractions in Alaska – Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park. Guests also have the option to purchase a pre-paid meal package for the land portion.

Four categories of cruisetour options include:

• Denali Explorer – As Princess' most popular and best value cruisetour, these itineraries feature multiple nights at the line's Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Most offer Princess' exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service between the ship in Whittier and the Denali area all in one day, plus the opportunity to explore Fairbanks and/or Anchorage.

• On Your Own – An affordable option for independent-minded travelers, these itineraries offer a flexible way to see the heart of Alaska. Tours follow similar routes as Denali Explorer options, but do not include any pre-planned excursions, giving travelers the opportunity to customize their own experience.

• Off the Beaten Path – These itineraries are designed to take travelers beyond Denali to sought-after, remote regions of the state such as the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

• Connoisseur – The line's highest level of service, these tours provide a truly immersive experience. With a professional tour director, most meals included and enhanced sightseeing; guests experience the best of the Great Land.

Heart of the Rockies Plus Rail – This 14-night cruisetour originates in Calgary and includes daylight Silverleaf rail service on the Rocky Mountaineer. The fully escorted land tour combines with a seven-day northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise on Royal Princess and Golden Princess and includes most breakfasts and dinners. Spectacular overnight accommodations are offered at Fairmont Calgary Palliser Hotel, Banff, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Four Seasons Vancouver.

MSC Meraviglia To Offer Three Itineraries From New York Upon Its Arrival In North America In Fall 2019
MSC Cruises announced today that MSC Meraviglia, the sophisticated mega smart ship launched in June 2017, will kick off its inaugural season in North America making its maiden call in New York on Oct. 7, 2019 and offering three sailings departing from New York.

Bringing the ship's on board experience to a new embarkation port, MSC Meraviglia will sail two 10-night round trip itineraries from New York, as well as a third 13-night itinerary through the Caribbean, ending in Miami. In addition, prior to arriving in New York, MSC Meraviglia will sail a 17-night transatlantic cruise from Kiel, Germany with ports of call in destinations such as Denmark, the United Kingdom, Iceland and Canada.

"New York has been a market that MSC Cruises has been exploring for a number of years," said Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. "We are thrilled that for the first time in MSC Cruises history we are now able to offer sailings from this important region and meet the expectations of both our travel agent partners and guests."

Meaning wonder, MSC Meraviglia boasts incredible detailed design that lives up to her name. The 5,714 (4,488 double occupancy) passenger ship offers a variety of unique features that have made the ship one of the hottest destinations at sea. Highlights of the innovative ship include: world-class entertainment with two exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows created just for MSC Meraviglia; a Mediterranean-style promenade, with the longest LED dome at sea, at 262 ft., displaying a variety of digital skies 24 hours a day; a wide range of culinary offerings, including an expanded partnership with global Italian food expert Eataly as well as a partnership with world-renowned pastry chef, Jean Philippe Maury; and an enhanced MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering. In addition, the ship caters to families, with modular connected staterooms that can accommodate up to 10 people, multiple LEGO-designed play areas for all ages, and a polar themed aqua park, featuring four water slides.

"Bringing MSC Meraviglia to New York is the perfect introduction for the ship to the U.S., providing travelers an option to check out new itineraries with MSC Cruises and, for those in the region, a convenient way to discover MSC Meraviglia's style, sophistication and stellar on board features," said Roberto Fusaro, President of MSC Cruises USA. "With MSC Meraviglia coming to New York, and eventually to Miami, we are bringing the three most innovative and modern classes of MSC Cruises ships to the U.S., offering a wider range of memorable experiences for guests."

MSC Meraviglia sailings for the fall and winter 2019/2020 season

Guests can officially book sailings for MSC Meraviglia's inaugural season in North America beginning January 2, 2018.

10-Night Sailings Departing from New York

• October 8, 2019: The first of the two 10-night sailings from New York will tour stunning Canadian destinations during the region's most colorful time of year. Cruisers can explore the fall hues in Sydney, Nova Scotia; Corner Brook, Newfoundland; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and an overnight stay in Quebec City, Quebec, before returning to New York.*

• October 18, 2019: The second 10-night sailing for MSC Meraviglia departing from New York will explore Canada as well as the New England region, with ports of call in Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Portland, Maine; and Boston, Massachusetts.

13-Night Sailing Departing from New York to Miami

• October 28, 2019: MSC Meraviglia's final sailing from New York will journey to Miami through the Caribbean on a 13-night sailing. Guests can experience picturesque Caribbean destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Fort de France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint George, Grenada; Willemstad, Curaçao; and Oranjestad, Aruba, before arriving in Miami.

7-Night Sailings Departing from Miami to the Caribbean

Upon departing New York, MSC Meraviglia will homeport in Miami, sailing alongside MSC Seaside and MSC Divina. The three ships based at PortMiami will offer cruise guests looking to sail the Caribbean a wider range of options in terms of ships and itineraries. MSC Meraviglia, in particular, will offer a full season of 7-night cruises, departing on Sundays and sailing to two itineraries in the western Caribbean. The first itinerary will include Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas, and the second itinerary will stop in Mexico, Honduras, Belize and the Bahamas.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.25 + 1.65%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.50 - 0.33%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.92 - 4.69%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.61 - 0.36%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the first ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (then called Norwegian Caribbean)?

Answer - Cunard Line's MEDIA, built in 1948....but the stabilizers were added later
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - November 27, 2017

Celebrity Introduces Celebrity Flora
Celebrity Cruises unveils another stunning revolution in ship design: Celebrity Flora is an elevated and inspired approach to marine exploration, meticulously designed expressly for the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands.

One of the most energy-efficient ships of its size in the diverse archipelago , the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will offer seamless sea-to-shore transportation, and includes anchorless technology that maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea floor. Innovative outward-facing design gives guests 360-degree views of the islands, while personal suite attendants, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, and expert-lead ecological seminars will round out the modern luxury vacation experience.

“Celebrity Flora marks another example of our revolutionary ship design by allowing the destination and its environment to influence every decision we’ve made,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “From the luxurious all-suite accommodations to industry-first, eco-friendly innovations, we created a ship that brings a new level of luxury, sustainability and natural exploration to the region. Guests will feel as though they’re boarding a high-end yacht for a week of unparalleled adventures, and they are!”

“We are very pleased with the announcement of Celebrity Cruises’ decision to build a cruise vessel with cutting-edge technology, designed specifically to operate around our wonderful islands,” said Enrique Ponce de León, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism. “Celebrity Flora will undoubtedly mark a very important milestone in the tourism development of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, offering high quality and sustainable tourism.”

Designed with the Destination in Mind:
The natural beauty of the islands, the diversity and uniqueness of the species that it harbors earned this archipelago the reputation of being a living laboratory of evolutionary processes still in progress. The region made room for the development of a large number of flora and fauna that do not exist anywhere else in the world, making the Galapagos a very unique place of global importance for the common heritage of humanity.

Featuring Celebrity’s signature outward-facing design, Celebrity Flora virtually erases boundaries and brings this typically remote destination closer to guests. Educational, research-based programming gives travelers an opportunity to continue learning about the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.

The Marina is the primary point of access to the ship and can accommodate up to three Zodiacs at once, reducing transport time to and from land and allowing more time for guests to explore the practically untouched islands. While onboard guests will unwind in the Sunset Lounge, find solace in The Vista, an open-air hideaway with 360-degree views, cocoon-style loungers and private cabanas, and enjoy the breathtaking surrounds in the floor-to-ceiling glass-wrapped Observatory.

Darwin’s Cove and the Naturalist Center provide a bounty of information on the destination, wildlife and environmental efforts, while the Discovery Lounge will be home to Naturalist presentations and excursion information. Guests can participate in a guided astronomy tour or enjoy star-lit skies on their own from the Stargazing Platform.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the Seaside Restaurant. The Ocean Grill offers a casual dining space, panoramic views and Dinner Under the Stars, or guests can choose from an indulgent in-room dining experience.

Sophisticated Accommodations, Attentive Service:
Celebrity Flora transports travelers in all-suite accommodations featuring oversized bathrooms perfect for post-adventure refreshing. These modern retreats bring the outside in through Celebrity’s signature outward-facing layouts and heralded Infinite Verandas, and come complete with sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials. Personal suite attendants cater to guests’ every need.

Celebrity Flora’s two Penthouse Suites are the largest in the Galapagos with separate indoor and outdoor living areas, customizable lighting and shades, and a telescope for stargazing or sea lion-peeping. Guests can also find relaxation in Royal Suites, Ultimate Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda, Premium Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda and Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda.

Environmental Stewardship and Innovation:
Celebrity Flora is one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, with a 15 percent reduction of fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions , thanks to the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. Two more firsts in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora’s dynamic positioning system allows the ship to stay in position without physically anchoring and damaging the sea floor, with zero speed stabilizers promising smooth sailing throughout.

Celebrity will reduce the need for plastics onboard by introducing in-room water filtration stations and by converting sea water and air conditioning condensation into pure, fresh water. Any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be as part of a strict waste management system.

"I think this is a clear example of an intelligent investment, not only because the boat design was thought with the characteristics of the Galapagos, but because it is based on the best technology available to protect a Natural Heritage of Humanity,” said Walter Bustos, Director of Galapagos National Park. “This proposal is a mix of experiences and education so that each visitor returns to their country with a different mindset, more committed to the conservation of the environment, which is one of the objectives of the Galapagos National Park "

Experience the Evolution of Travel in the Galapagos:
Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra year-round, making her first sailing on May 26, 2019

MSC Cruises and Fincantieiri Announce Agreement for Two New Seaside EVO Ships
Today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of its new flagship MSC Seaside. The delivery ceremony took place in the presence of Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, Graziano Delrio, Italy’s Minister of Infrastructures and Transports as well as other authorities and dignitaries.

At the occasion of the delivery ceremony of MSC Seaside, the Company’ second newly-built to come into service in 2017, MSC Cruises and Fincantieri also signed firm orders for the construction of two Seaside EVO ships, a further evolution of the Seaside Class prototype, for a total investment of $2.13 billion.

“MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “MSC Seaside coming into service marks another key milestone in the history and future of our Company, but she also embodies a pivotal moment for the industry. In fact, she is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we bring into service and introduces a wholly-innovative product that sets a new standard for the industry to follow. The Seaside Class of ships is designed to bring guests closer to the sea and to operate in sunny waters, while continuing to push the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology.”

Mr Vago added: “As we are nearing the end of 2017, we can look back on a year when we enjoyed unprecedented capacity growth. With two of the more innovative new ships in the industry having come into service in the past six months and now with the addition of two Seaside EVO ships to our investment plan, we are now even better positioned to further extend our global footprint. We are expecting the delivery of at least one new ship each year through 2026, with six to have come into service between 2017 and 2020. ”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy. This demonstrates not only our ability to satisfy the needs of the shipowners, but also the extraordinary operational level which Fincantieri has achieved. In fact, I would like to highlight that “Seaview”, the sister ship of “Seaside”, will be delivered in just 6 months in this same shipyard”. Bono added: “we believe we have built a highly innovative ship with MSC. She marks a further technological quality leap. Such a milestone has allowed us to gain the customer’s loyalty with another order for two new ships, which will [again] represent a real evolution.”

Following the new agreement between MSC Cruises and Fincantieri, the initial slot reservation agreement to build a third Seaside Class ship to be delivered in 2021 has been replaced to instead build the first of two Seaside EVO ships. The second ship is set to come into service in 2023.

Key specs for the new Seaside EVO are as follows:
• Length/beam: 1,112 ft/ 135 ft
• Gross tonnage: 169,380 GRT
• LSA: 7,280

In addition to offering even more space, Seaside EVO ships will have greater dimensions, more cabins, an even larger Yacht Club – with an additional deck and larger cabins -- and will be hosting up to 5,646 passengers. At the same time, just like the Seaside Class, the Seaside EVO ships will be equipped with the latest advanced environmental technology, including: a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, an advanced active emissions control technology system, that significantly reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) into harmless nitrogen (N2) and water; exhaust gas cleaning (EGC) technology to meet the strictest exhaust regulations in port and in operating areas; state-of-the-art waste management and recycling systems; advanced water treatment systems – going above and beyond regulatory standards and meeting the highest industry standards; and, an advanced energy and heat recovery system. Across the ships, there will be the latest generation of energy-saving devices and all areas will feature LED lighting. The ships will be ultra-hydrodynamic and thanks to optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders, combined with the latest anti-fouling paint, wave resistance will be further reduced, and greater fuel-efficiency will be achieved.

With the addition of these new ships, the Company’s already industry-unprecedented investment plan will now account for 12 new ships to be built by 2026, for an overall investment of EUR 10.5 billion

During today’s delivery ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, Roberto Olivari, Fincantieri’s shipyard director, handed over to Pier Paolo Scala, Master of MSC Seaside, an ampoule holding the first water that touched the hull when the ship was floated out earlier this year. After the closing of the delivery ceremony, MSC Seaside initially set sail for Trieste. From there, she will continue to Miami for her naming ceremony on 21 December.

MSC Seaside is the first ship in the Seaside Class and a completely new prototype pushing the boundaries of innovative ship building and design. At 153,516 GRT and with a guest capacity of 5,119, she is the second newly-built next-generation mega cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the first one to be delivered by Fincantieri.

MSC Seaside will be homeporting in Miami and will begin her first sailing in the Caribbean where she will call at various ports in the East and West Caribbean.

Fresh on the heels of MSC Seaside, her sister ship MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, starting her summer season in the Mediterranean. Today at the delivery ceremony, Mr Vago also announced that MSC Seaview will be christened in Civitavecchia, Italy, on June 2, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line Names Godfather For Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Elvis Duran, nationally syndicated radio and digital personality and on-air host of iHeartMedia's top rated, "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" will serve as Godfather of its newest ship, Norwegian Bliss. As Godfather, Elvis will have an honorary role in the official ship christening ceremony on May 30, 2018 at Pier 66 in Seattle. Custom built for the ultimate cruising experience, Norwegian Bliss will boast an array of exhilarating activities, delectable dining options and show stopping performances. The line's sixteenth ship will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises during her inaugural summer season and, beginning in November 2018, Norwegian Bliss will trade in Alaska's breathtaking scenery for stunning Caribbean sunsets as she sails seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from Port Miami.

In the maritime world, it is a longstanding tradition to name a Godparent of a new vessel and the honor is given to an individual who will officially christen a new ship, and remain in their role for the life of the ship. Norwegian Cruise Line bestowed the Godfather role upon Elvis Duran as he mirrors the fun, exciting and original personality that Norwegian Bliss so wholly embodies. While Norwegian Bliss is docked in Seattle on May 30, 2018, Elvis will join Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.'s President and CEO Frank Del Rio and Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart in the tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne against the ship's hull and officially christening the vessel during an exciting ceremony. Elvis joins the family of high profile Godmothers and Godfathers for the brand including Pitbull, Kim Cattrall, Reba McEntire, Rosie O'Donnell, Chinese pop star Wang Leehom and the Radio City Rockettes, as he steps into this special new role.

"Elvis Duran epitomizes the high-energy, and liveliness that the ship represents and we're very excited to have him join the family as Godfather to Norwegian Bliss," said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line's president and chief executive officer. "Norwegian Cruise Line's mission is first and foremost to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind unforgettable vacation and continue to develop and offer guests the latest innovative experiences. As one of the most beloved radio hosts in history, Elvis' commitment to entertainment and bringing laughter and joy to his listeners each day is exactly why we believe he is the perfect fit to represent Norwegian Bliss."

Elvis Duran has become a household name in the industry since he began hosting the daily morning radio show on New York's Z100 in 1996. Over the years, Duran has continuously shown his devotion to his listeners by seeking new ideas, fun games and exciting interviews with celebrities. His radio career has spanned 30 years and today, the award-winning "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" on WHTZ, New York's Z100, is syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks on nearly 80 radio stations across the country and available digitally on iHeartRadio, reaching more than ten million monthly listeners. The show is the most listened to Top 40 morning show in the U.S. that consistently ranks #1 across multiple demographics and top markets. Broadcasting live from New York's Z100, Duran and his on-air crew entertain listeners with up-to-the-minute entertainment and pop culture news, celebrity guests, hit songs, and regular features such as the gossipy "Entertainment Report," the news-worthy "Headlines," and the ever-popular prank "Phone Taps."

"I am honored to be named Godfather for Norwegian Bliss," said Elvis Duran. "This incredible ship and all the innovative activities onboard, from the race track to Broadway shows, perfectly reflect the energy and excitement of our morning show and we are looking forward to bringing our loyal listeners along for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can't wait until she arrives next May!"

Carnival Cruise Line Revamping Specialty Dining and Breakfast Menus, Reintroducing Baked Alaska Across the Fleet
As part of its ongoing effort to keep its culinary offerings fresh and exciting for its guests, Carnival Cruise Line is revamping the menus for several of its specialty dining venues and reintroducing Baked Alaska across the fleet.

The menus for Carnival's steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have undergone a transformation with a variety of tantalizing new items reflecting lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and exquisite presentation to keep pace with changing palates.

Baked Alaska – a classic dessert made of cake and ice cream topped with merengue – is also being reintroduced after several years with uniformed waiters performing the time-honored tradition of parading the tasty confection throughout the dining room prior to service.

The updated steakhouse menus, currently available on three ships, offer mouth-watering appetizers such as Iced and Smoked Fresh Oysters with Apple Mignonette; Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Sphere and Avocado "Leche de Tiger"; Risotto with Crab, Mushroom and Brown Butter, and Heritage Berkshire Pork Belly with Apple Walnut Preserve. These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like Farmhouse Chicken with Roasted Honey Vinegar and Dover Sole Pan-Seared with Lemon Potato-Mousseline and Shallot Emulsion. Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.

The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy's culinary regions, with dishes like Branzino Al Forno in Crosta Dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark, along with Risotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheese, Grande Braciola Di Maiale – a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage – and Costina Di Manzo Con Porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta. House-made burrata – an Italian favorite made with mozzarella and cream and distinguished by its rich buttery flavor – has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available. The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships – Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze – with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.

Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are just as varied with delicious options such as avocado toast; a Breakfast Bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Frittata. There's also a Broken Egg Sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns; and a "Breakfast Board" with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami, and grilled sour dough bread. For those on the go, a new "breakfast express" is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all "in and out" within 25 minutes. An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered. Thus far, 12 ships feature the popular new breakfast items with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.

The line's delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and host of new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps. Diners can enjoy a sweet finish to their meal with a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie baked fresh every morning.

Carnival is also re-branding its 24-hour pizzerias to Pizzeria del Capitano offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies – from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto. The re-branded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.

With the popularity of Seafood Shack which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offering lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships.

Dream Cruises’ World Dream Christened in Hong Kong
Genting Hong Kong celebrated the arrival of Dream Cruises’ second new ship, World Dream, on 17 November 2017 at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal with a special christening ceremony to impart good fortune and luck to the vessel.

Puan Sri Cecilia Lim, World Dream’s official Godmother and the wife of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong, activated the traditional breaking of the champagne on the hull of the new ship in the presence of more than 1,000 guests including government dignitaries, business and trade partners and media.

World Dream is the sistership to Genting Dream, which debuted in November 2016, and will double the capacity for Dream Cruises, Asia’s luxury cruise line. With World Dream based in Hong Kong, Genting Dream will now cruise from Singapore.

“We are truly excited to christen World Dream in Hong Kong – and to be the first-ever cruise ship to have this honour in a city that holds such significance to Genting Hong Kong and Dream Cruises. As the pioneer of the Asian cruise industry 24 years ago, Genting Hong Kong developed the Asian cruise industry with the founding of Star Cruises, with its headquarters in Hong Kong,” said Tan Sri Limd.

“Now, with Genting Dreams’ arrival in the Pearl River Delta a year ago, she has delivered over 300,000 international passenger trips from across the region. Hundreds of jobs have been created and tourism receipts in hotels, airlines and destination management industries for the Pearl River Delta have grown significantly.”

Tan Sri Lim also expressed the importance of Hong Kong to both Genting Hong Kong and the overall cruise industry in the Asia Pacific and reiterated the company’s commitment to showcase the city and grow the Pearl River Delta region into a world-class, cruise destination hub.

Carnival Raises Price of Beverage Package
Carnival Cruise Line has increased the cost of its Cheers! beverage package effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The pre-cruise purchase cost will go from $49.95 per person, per day to $51.95, a 4% increase.

On the ship, the package will sell for $56.95, up from $54.95. The prices do not include the 15% gratuity.

The package includes spirits, beer, and wine and champagne by the glass with a menu price of $50 and below, plus specialty coffees, sodas, juices, nonalcoholic cocktails, milkshakes, energy drinks and bottled water.

List of beverages and services included in Carnival Cruise Line’s CHEERS! program:

• All spirits, including cocktails, cognacs, whiskies and other spirits, as well as beer and wine (and Champagne) by the glass, with a $50 USD or lower menu price per serving

• Zero-Proof frozen cocktails (including smoothies), sodas (including specialty sodas) and juices

• Specialty coffees and hot tea served in the main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and coffee bars

• RockStar energy drinks, Powerade, Vitamin Water, Coconut Water and Honest Tea

• 500ml bottled water and other non-alcoholic bottled beverages served in bars and lounges

• Large format (1 liter and 1.5-liter) bottles of water in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants

• 25 percent discount off the menu price for any spirit, cocktail or wine by the glass, costing above $50 USD per serving

• 25 percent discount off the menu price for wine and champagne by the bottle and larger format water bottles purchased outside the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants

• 25 percent discount off beverage seminars and classes

CHEERS! is not offered on two day cruises, charters, and cruises from Australia.

MSC Seaside to Sail With Beer-Themed Improv, 7 Broadway-Style Shows
MSC Cruises has announced that its upcoming new cruise ship, the MSC Seaside, will sail with a beer-themed improv comedy concept and a lineup of seven new Broadway-style shows.

The North American comedy troupe BeerProv, known for creating unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, marking the first improv comedy show in the MSC Cruises fleet. This new 45-minute concept includes four comedians and a high level of audience participation.

MSC Cruises has also worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another show, The Wizard, will incorporate illusions, and Peter Punk aims to provide a new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

Also for the first time in MSC Cruises’ fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility, MSC Cruises said. The shows will include 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

For families, the new ship will have two special LEGO rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, that will aim to allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world’s most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club - LEGO Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship’s Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club - LEGO Pirates is for kids aged seven to 11, filled with the latest LEGO toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO.

Babysitting services will be available for ages three to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm. Each kids’ club will be equipped 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

The Metropolitan Theatre will also host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids’ clubs for both kids and their parents.

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

An entertainment area will offer guests the chance to try out an F1 racing simulator, XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a lineup of arcade games. The ship will also have two zip lines.

New shows in the ship’s atrium will also offer surprise performances, including game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.16 + 0.05%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.50 + 1.25%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.92 - 4.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.61 + 1.68%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which shipping company had a fleet of passenger ships with hulls painted lavender?

Answer - The Union-Castle Line had the lavender hulled ships. Going back to the 1850's it was the merger of two seperate companies - the Union Line and the Castle Line. They began as mail ship lines running between Southhampton and South Africa, later becoming a passenger line, and basically, going out of business in 1977.
courtesy of Frank Cicio


Cruise News - November 20, 2017

MSC Cruises Enriches Entertainment Options On Board MSC Seaside
MSC Cruises today announced more details of the new entertainment options aboard its latest flagship, MSC Seaside. MSC Cruises is committed to providing world-class entertainment on its ships to constantly surprise and delight guests. MSC Seaside will offer around-the-clock entertainment in a range of venues ensuring there is never a dull moment.

Late-Night Fun and Laughter with BeerProv, New Improvised Comedy Concept
For the first time on the MSC Cruises fleet, guests will be able to enjoy improvised comedy at sea. The well-known North American comedy troupe BeerProv, famed for instantly creating hilarious, unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, offering guests an entirely unique and unexpected show every performance. This new 45-minute concept features four comedians and includes a high level of audience participation.

Seven Brand New Broadway-Style Shows
MSC Cruises places a large emphasis on delivering quality entertainment, and has been recognized multiple times for its top-notch productions. The cruise line received the award for Best Production Shows in Porthole Cruise Magazine's Editor in Chief Awards for 2017 and earned a spot under Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment in USA Today's 10 Best Reader's Choice 2016 Awards, as well as the Cruisers' Choice in the Cruise Critic 2016 Awards.

MSC Cruises has worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another eye-catching show, The Wizard, will feature breathtaking illusions, and Peter Punk provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

More Flexible Theater Show Sittings
Also for the first time in MSC Cruises' fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility to fit a fantastic show around even the busiest schedule. The shows will feature 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

Activities Kids Will Love
As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises is dedicated to creating unique moments for families, and each and every new ship offers an even greater family offering. Two special LEGO® rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, will allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world's most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club - LEGO® Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship's Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO®, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club - LEGO® Pirates is for kids aged seven to eleven, filled with the latest LEGO® toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO®.

Parents can enjoy a night to themselves, by dropping their kids off at late night group babysitting services, available for ages 3 to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am to enjoy everything the ship has to offer by night. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm, for a full, stress free day. Each kids' club will be equipped with the latest, cutting-edge equipment, including 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

To create more opportunities for together-time for the whole family, the Metropolitan Theatre will host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids' clubs for both kids and their parents, so that the "big kids" can join in on the fun!

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

Interactive Entertainment
A thrilling entertainment area offers guests high-tech thrills, including an authentic F1 racing simulator, immersive XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a whole host of arcade games. Two of the longest zips line at sea will also take guests on a high-speed thrill ride, finishing at the back of the ship. Guests can either take the plunge on their own or race a friend side-by-side.

New shows in the ship's atrium will also offer surprise performances. Game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more will make up the varied line-up in this uniquely designed space.

Carnival Cruise Line To Increase Capacity On Short Cruise Program From Galveston
Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from Galveston beginning in 2019.

Carnival Dream will launch four- and five-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning in May 2019, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from that port and providing Texans with an exciting and convenient new vacation option.

On this route, four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso or Costa Maya.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of "fun in the sun" shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

"Galveston is one of our fastest-growing and most popular homeports and we're delighted to expand capacity on our short cruise program with Carnival Dream," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Not only is Carnival Dream our largest ship to operate short cruises it also offers guests some truly spectacular onboard features and facilities following her extensive multi-million-dollar makeover."

"We have a long-standing relationship with Carnival Cruise Line and we are thrilled that they have chosen to reposition Carnival Dream to Galveston," said Peter Simons, Interim Port Director. "Deploying their largest Dream-class ship to operate their short cruise program demonstrates Carnival's continued commitment to the Texas travel market. It's this type of confidence and commitment that has helped the Port of Galveston grow to become the fourth largest cruise port in North America. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Carnival."

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream will kick off its year-round schedule from Galveston beginning May 23, 2019, representing a 22 percent increase in capacity on this program.

Carnival Dream recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a number of exciting food and beverage options, including Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant. These complement such attractions as a WaterWorks aqua park, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and more.

Carnival Dream will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018, and together these three ships are expected to carry nearly 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Line To Increase Capacity On Short Cruise Program From New Orleans
Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from New Orleans beginning in 2019.

Carnival Valor will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round four- and five-day cruises from the Big Easy beginning May 2019. It will be the largest ship to offer a year-round short cruise schedule from that port.

On this route, four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of "fun in the sun" shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

"New Orleans is one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Valor is a wonderful short option that provides a wide array of exciting dining, beverage, entertainment and activity choices that our guests are sure to enjoy," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

"We are thrilled to welcome Carnival Valor to the year-round cruise offerings from our vibrant and historical city," said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans President and CEO. "We value our long-time partnership with Carnival Cruise Line and we look forward to working together to continue to provide new and varied itineraries and a top-notch experience for our guests."

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will kick off its new year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises from New Orleans May 16, 2019, replacing Carnival Triumph and representing a nearly 10 percent increase in capacity on the line's short cruise program from that port. Carnival Triumph will be deployed to another homeport to be announced at a later date. Also in May 2019, Carnival Glory will take over the New Orleans-based year-round seven-day schedule of Carnival Dream. Together, Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are expected to carry nearly 400,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Carnival Valor last year underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that added such popular highlights as Guy's Burger Joint, developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Other features on Carnival Valor include an adults-only Serenity Deck, a 214-foot-long water slide and Scarlett's, a classic American steakhouse.

Carnival Cruise Line Transforming Onboard Shopping Experience
As part of an ongoing effort to provide its guests with the widest variety of choices at sea, Carnival Cruise Line is totally transforming its shipboard shopping experience with renovated spaces and popular items from some of the world's best-known retailers, including Victoria's Secret, Swarovski, Pandora, TAG and others.

According to Carnival's Vice President of Retail William Butler, the upgraded retail venues and expanded offerings are the result of months of intensive research and data gathering to customize its onboard shopping options to match the preferences of Carnival guests.

"We're committed to enhancing every aspect of our operations – which includes, of course, onboard shopping – and our expanded and enhanced retail offerings provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy some 'retail therapy' and take home a unique and memorable keepsake from their Carnival vacation," he said.

Here's a breakdown on some of the many new offerings available across the fleet:

• Effy (12 ships) – one of the largest manufactures of fine jewelry in the U.S., Effy's tax- and duty-free items feature a lifetime guarantee and run the gamut from colored gemstones and diamonds to tanzanite and other top-of-the-line products.

• Swarovski (25 ships) – one of the world's leading retailers of fashion jewelry offering custom jewelry, pearls, sterling silver and more.

• TAG (24 ships) – a leading manufacturer of high-end luxury timepieces, TAG's constantly evolving line of fine watches are worn by celebrities and sports stars the world over.

• Pandora (10 ships) – the nation's top costume jewelry provider offers a selection of custom bracelets, rings, necklaces, and charms, including, appropriately enough, some tied to a vacation theme with cruise ships, palm trees and sandals.

• Invicta (25 ships) – this high-end retailer offers a full line of fashion watches with hundreds of different styles to choose from – from exercise to every day and special occasions - providing consumers with a watch to suit any mood or taste.

• Victoria's Secret (22 ships) – purveyor of top beauty products offering a variety of popular items and accessories, including mists, lotions and perfumes, with convenient displays divided by the categories of Prestige, VS Fantasies and Rollerballs.

• Los Cincos Soles (4 ships) – this Mexican-themed retailer offers sterling silver jewelry, souvenirs, T-shirts, authentic arts and crafts created by local artisans.

Additionally, the line's Cherry on Top sweets shops offering bulk candies, novelty items and apparel are currently available on 20 ships.

Carnival's shipboard retail experience has also been enhanced with fun activities, special promotions, and giveaways, in-store parties and more. Select ships also feature stand-alone kiosks with "wearable tech" accessories that include the latest fitness trackers, pedometers, and heart rate monitors by brands like Fossil and others. Carnival has also made a significant investment in digital marketing across the fleet directing guests to marquee retail events and upcoming deals during their cruise.

Over the past year, Carnival has completely renovated the shopping outlets on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Elation, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Valor with Carnival Victory, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Legend and Carnival Paradise scheduled for retail refurbishments in the coming year. The new Carnival Horizon, set to debut in spring 2018, will take the line's retail offerings to the next level with the line's largest, most elaborate and diverse shopping experience to date with two decks of shops, boutiques and displays featuring top-name retailers.

Royal Caribbean Announces Pricing Of $800 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Offering
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today announced that it has priced an offering of senior unsecured notes in an aggregate principal amount of $800 million, consisting of two tranches.

The first tranche of $300 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2020 (the "2020 Notes") will bear interest at the rate of 2.650% per annum and will mature on November 28, 2020. The second tranche of $500 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2028 (together with the 2020 Notes, the "Senior Unsecured Notes") will bear interest at the rate of 3.700% per annum and will mature on March 15, 2028. The Senior Unsecured Notes are expected to be issued on November 28, 2017.

The company plans to use the proceeds from the offering to repay indebtedness, including but not limited to, its $290 million unsecured term loan due 2018 and portions of its unsecured revolving credit facility due 2020 and unsecured revolving credit facility due 2022, with any remaining proceeds being used for general corporate purposes.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.13 + 0.23%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 123.95 - 0.43%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.00 - 1.48%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.69 - 1.05%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which shipping company had a fleet of passenger ships with hulls painted lavender?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mary, and the Normandie (This is the only time these three ships were together in one port)
courtesy of Chris Kail


Cruise News - November 13, 2017

Caribbean Princess Traverses Panama Canal as First-Ever, Neo-Panamax Cruise Ship to Sail Through Newly Expanded Lock
Princess Cruises was the first cruise line to take guests through the Panama Canal in 1967, one of the world's most coveted engineering marvels. Fifty years later, the cruise line marks another major milestone with the very first mega-cruise ship, Caribbean Princess, to traverse the newly expanded "Neo-Panamax" Locks.

Marking the 50th anniversary in 2017, Caribbean Princess is the first post-Panamax cruise ship to take more than 3,000 guests through the newly opened Agua Clara locks on the Atlantic side of the canal that opened in June 2016, as part of the 10-year, $5.4 billion "Neo-Panamax" expansion.

Previously, only vessels with a maximum width of 106 feet could enter the locks. Caribbean Princess with a width of 118 feet, 112,894 tons and carrying 3,200 guests, sailed through the expanded locks for the first of 13 scheduled crossings on October 26, during the ship's 2017-2018 Panama Canal schedule.

"Marking our 50th anniversary taking guests to the Panama Canal in 2017 is a huge milestone so it's equally thrilling that we will also observed the occasion by being the first cruise line to sail a mega-ship through the newly expanded locks," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president. "The widely anticipated expansion of the Panama Canal allows us to showcase this engineering spectacle to more guests than ever on our larger ships."

Princess guests sail through the epic waterway that shaped the course of history by linking the world's two mightiest oceans with an industrial feat that, even 100 years later, remains so breathtaking and monumental that it was named a "Cruise World Wonder" by Condé Nast Traveler. Onboard, expert narration enlightens guests as Princess ships pass through the locks and authentic Panamanian cuisine is served in the dining rooms. With port calls in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, ashore there is everything from Costa Rican rainforests to old world cities like Cartagena that recall the age of exploration.

The only cruise line to offer a full season of voyages from fall through spring, Princess Cruises delivers the most itinerary options and sailing dates with three ways to experience the Panama Canal - roundtrip from the East Coast on 10-day sailings, roundtrip from the West Coast on 19-day sailings, or a full transit from ocean to ocean on 15-day sailings.

Caribbean Princess recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that included seven new food and beverage offerings, an updated youth & teen Center – Camp Discovery, more interconnecting staterooms, and updated décor.

New Spaces and New Experiences Debuting on the Disney Magic in 2018
Exciting new spaces and new experiences designed for guests of all ages are coming to the Disney Magic in March 2018. From family dining in an enchanted kingdom, to a transformed teen club, to a sophisticated café exclusively for adults, the ship's newest highlights include:

An Enchanting Dining Experience for Families

At Rapunzel's Royal Table, families will delight in an all-new dining experience inspired by the beloved story of Disney's "Tangled." The first table service restaurant themed to "Tangled" that features characters and live entertainment will transport Disney Magic guests to the kingdom of Corona for an evening of music and interactive fun featuring Rapunzel and the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs.

Guests will step inside a regal ballroom in the royal castle, lit by glowing wish lanterns and adorned with colorful drawings that reflect Rapunzel's artistic talents. Here, the King and Queen of Corona invite everyone to take part in a festive celebration of Rapunzel's birthday and the anniversary of her return to the kingdom.

Throughout dinner, guests of all ages will be treated to live entertainment, including spirited singing and dancing led by the maître d', a merry band of musicians, the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs and of course, Princess Rapunzel herself.

The family fun is complete with themed menus, special activities and a lively parade to cap off the evening in Corona. The charm and enchantment of "Tangled" in Rapunzel's Royal Table is the perfect pairing to "Tangled: The Musical" – the spellbinding original production that delights guests during each Disney Magic sailing.

Redesigned Retreat Just for Teens

Vibe, the space on the ship reserved for teens ages 14-17, is being transformed into a trendy urban loft environment. At Vibe, teens can enjoy a new coffee and smoothie bar, play video and virtual reality games, and check out other cool activities like a DJ spin-off and movie making. Activities at Vibe are organized and hosted by trained Disney counselors who facilitate the fun and interaction among teen guests.

Refined Escape Exclusively for Adults

Adults can relax at Cove Café, an adult-exclusive retreat that will be redesigned in a sophisticated tropical style. It's the perfect place to sip a specialty coffee or tea throughout the day, or indulge in wine or a cocktail and light bites during the evening hours.

In this serene setting by the Quiet Cove Pool, adult beverage tastings are also available at select times for an additional fee. Just steps away, the adjacent Signals Bar will also be transformed with a similar look.

Elsewhere around the Disney Magic, other enhancement highlights include the addition of Club Disney Junior in Disney's Oceaneer Club for children and a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy in Senses Spa for adults.

The new enhancements debut on Disney Magic starting March 9, 2018, on sailings from Miami, Fla. The four- and five-night Disney Magic sailings from Miami visit Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Beginning on May 14, 2018, the Disney Magic repositions to Europe for the summer season.

American Cruise Lines Introduces American Song
American Cruise Lines announced today that its brand new riverboat will be named American Song. The first ship in the Line's highly anticipated Modern Riverboat Series, American Song will be the finest state-of-the-art ship available to the U.S. river cruise market. The first of its kind and unlike anything seen before on American waters, this innovative ship will bring a whole new dimension to river cruising in the U.S.

American Song integrates modern design without sacrificing the refined comfort that American Cruise Lines is known for. Wider, faster, and quieter than any other river cruise ship, American Song will be the most environmentally friendly ship in the industry. While other companies are repurposing old casino boats, American Cruise Lines contracts only for brand new ships to maintain its reputation for premium quality and consistency. Each American Cruise Lines' new ship build incorporates the most innovative design and is U.S. built, crewed, and flagged.

Showcasing gorgeous interior design elements, from a four-story glass atrium to spectacular spacious lounges, American Song inspires. Thoughtfully designed to bring the outside world in, American Song boasts sweeping views throughout the ship. With the largest staterooms in the industry, private furnished balconies, full-size bathrooms and all the finest amenities available in cruising, American Song will not only set the standard for U.S. river cruising—it will redefine it.

The Inaugural season aboard American Song will begin in Fall 2018 on the Mississippi River and then continue to the West Coast in 2019, for American Cruise Lines' magnificent Columbia and Snake River itineraries.

Royal Caribbean Celebrates Spectrum of the Seas Keel-Laying
Today marked an important milestone in the development of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas, when her keel was lowered into place at the Neptun Werft shipyard in Rostock, Germany.

The keel-laying signifies the beginning of the ship's physical construction. During the ceremony, a 620-ton block measuring 59 feet by 121 feet (18 x 37 meters) was lifted into the building dock with an 800-ton crane.

As part of maritime tradition, a lucky coin was placed under the first block. There will be a total of 74 blocks that will make up Spectrum of the Seas.

Set to debut in 2019, Spectrum will be the next evolution of the cruise line’s groundbreaking and high-tech Quantum class of ships placing the ship in a new class of her own called the Quantum Ultra.

The revolutionary ship will specifically be designed for guests in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will feature cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

MSC Donates And Dedicates New 4,000 Square Foot Structure To Serve As School For Children In The British Virgin Islands
As part of MSC's global relief efforts in the Caribbean following the recent hurricanes, MSC, along with members of the government of the British Virgin Islands, welcomed and dedicated a new, 4,000 square-foot, pre-fabricated building that will serve as a school on the island of Virgin Gorda. With all 15 schools destroyed in the British Virgin Islands, this new school will allow the children of the island to focus on the future and continue their education. This donation from MSC is one of many ways the family-owned company is working to help support the Caribbean and its people through global resources.

"It is our responsibility as a family-owned company in the seafaring business for more than 300 years, to come to the aid of our family, friends and neighbors in dire times," said Richard Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. "This donation is one of many ways we are working to set the industry standard to help those who need it most and we're proud to utilize our global resources to assist as the Caribbean works to recover and rebuild."

Dona Regis, CEO, Tortola Pier Park adds, "We are honored to work with MSC to bring their donation of a much needed, prefabricated building to life for use as a school in the British Virgin Islands. This donation will allow our children to continue their education and focus on the future. It is with deep and heartfelt gratitude that we say thank you to MSC as we continue to rebuild a stronger island."

To date, MSC has tapped its global network of partners to ship goods, including water, food, medical supplies, building materials, mattresses and empty containers for shelter and safety use to the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands and Dominica. This effort includes shipment of materials through cargo containers provided by MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, ferries provided by GNV, MSC's ferry division, as well as external partners to deliver essentials to the islands. As one example, due to the catastrophic consequence of no power across many islands, MSC provided shipping services specifically to bring emergency lighting from Cyalume Technologies to the people who needed it most in Puerto Rico.

While most cruise ports in the region are now open for business, MSC continues to work with credible and connected partners to assist in restoring islands in the area, working to create a better and stronger Caribbean for the future.

Carnival Corporation Completes Multi-Million-Dollar Upgrade of Port Everglades Terminal
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced it has completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar redesign and upgrade of Cruise Terminal 2 at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Used exclusively by the company's Princess Cruises brand, the upgraded terminal now features a more streamlined departure design, interactive experiences, movie theater and more comfortable pre-boarding areas transforming guests' experience as they prepare to depart for their cruise vacation.

"When our guests arrive at the terminal excited about their cruise, that's a great opportunity for us to begin immersing them in a more personalized and hassle-free vacation experience," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "We have completely transformed the arrival so that our guests can board at a pace that's more relaxed and convenient for them. Our focus is on the entire guest experience with a special emphasis on making the arrival experience exceptional. From guests' homes through the cruise terminal and to their stateroom, every guest engagement is intended to maximize their vacation experience."

The transformation includes the addition of Carnival Corporation's proprietary xIoT (Experiential Internet of Things) network, which is activated by the Ocean Medallion™. As a result, guests sailing on Medallion Class ships will enjoy expedited boarding and a more personalized arrival experience as soon as they enter the terminal.

That includes interacting with their Ocean Tagalong™ on a gigantic LED screen (8' 3" tall by 53' 5" wide) that surrounds the Ocean Portal area where guests enter after clearing the security and check-in area.

Ocean Tagalongs are digital companions that guests create and personalize using the SocialOcean™ app – available for download through the Apple App Store and GooglePlay. Guests can select from among three sea creatures – Sea Turtle, Seahorse or Butterfly Fish – to best reflect their personality or mood, then further customize their Ocean Tagalong by body shape, color, pattern, markings and more.

Guests' Ocean Tagalongs take center stage on the Ocean Portal screen in the heart of the terminal as the avatars of guests in the immediate area appear in a vibrantly-animated ocean setting that creates an excellent photo moment.

For guests wanting to stay connected prior to boarding their cruise, Terminal 2 now features Carnival Corporation's new MedallionNet™, a game-changing connectivity service that delivers the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry. MedallionNet provides cruise guests in the terminal and onboard Medallion Class ships with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.

That unprecedented connectivity also lets guests enjoy the company's portfolio of original mobile games before and after boarding. PlayOcean Everywhere™ features four social casino games that can be played anywhere at any time with virtual currency, in addition to in-app purchases to boost gameplay for even more fun.

On the first floor, guests also can relax in the OceanView Theater – a comfortable cinema that features the award-winning, originally produced Ocean Original travel series that transports viewers to new and exotic places, introduces them to extraordinary people who live there and provides inspiration for near and far ocean travel.

The terminal's second level offers picturesque views of Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway and the magnificent Princess Cruises ships docked for departure.

It also includes another interactive Ocean Tagalong experience that allows guests to direct their "creatures" through a series of screens by moving their arms and hands to control the creature's swimming motions and directions, as guests prepare for ship boarding.

The 141,000-ton Regal Princess will be the first ship to depart from the newly redesigned terminal, as she begins a series of preview cruises introducing Ocean Medallion Vacations.

DNV GL Line Optimization Brings Ten Per Cent Fuel Savings for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' New Expedition Cruise Vessels
Design changes made as a result of working with DNV GL has resulted in projected annual fuel savings of more than ten per cent for the new Hapag-Lloyd Cruises passenger expedition ships. The two vessels, HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration, are currently under construction at the Vard Shipyard in Romania and Norway and are expected to launch in April and October 2019.

Brought in during the initial design and conception phase, DNV GL experts first created and explored more than 100,000 hull variations for the vessels. They worked to give Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Vard an idea of the technical possibilities of various hull forms and how the interactions between the hull form, the initial general arrangement and stability requirements would impact fuel consumption.

"The design concept for the two new ships was 'inspired by nature'," says Dr. Henning Brauer, Head of New Builds, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. "The vessel interiors have been created to reflect the environments our passengers are experiencing inside the ships. But these are also sensitive environments, so reducing the environmental impacts of our vessels is an integral part of the design concept. Working with DNV GL has allowed us to significantly reduce fuel consumption, which also decreases our overall emissions."

"We are very pleased to have been able to exceed Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' expectations and offer an optimization solution that demonstrates that efficiency and sustainability can go hand in hand," says Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO DNV GL - Maritime. "These results show that by bringing greater computing power and smart software to the ship design process we can help to unlock efficiencies for our customers."

After the initial assessment, the efficiency of the hull form was optimized within the given constraint set using DNV GL's unique formal optimization approach. During this phase, another 10,000 hull designs were analyzed, with the most promising candidates undergoing high fidelity computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis to confirm the results. Finally, the stern was optimized for passenger comfort by minimizing impact from slamming.

"Because these ships will have the highest ice class possible for passenger vessels, PC6, fuel consumption is an essential factor in their economic feasibility," adds Juryk Henrichs, Senior Project Engineer, DNV GL - Maritime. "With roughly 7,000 CPUs doing the heavy lifting, our unique form-parametric hull model was able to identify the optimal design to meet Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' specifications."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.98 + 0.47%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 124.48 - 0.69%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.013 + 1.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.267 + 0.02%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
In May of 1972, on voyage number 84, Cunard's QE2 picked up four unexpected passengers during a trans-Atlantic crossing. Who were they, and how did they end up onboard QE2?

Answer - While traveling from New York to Southampton, on 17 May 1972, the captain of the QE2 received a message that there was a bomb on board to go off during the voyage. A bomb disposal unit was flown out to the ship. The incident turned out to be a hoax.
courtesy of Manuela Flynn


Cruise News - November 6, 2017

Carnival Horizon Completes Sea Trials
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, successfully completed its final sea trials in the Adriatic Sea earlier this week in anticipation of its inaugural cruise from Barcelona on April 2, 2018.

Currently in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the 3,974-passenger vessel had a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board who thoroughly tested Carnival Horizon’s sophisticated technical, mechanical and navigation systems.

As the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Horizon will offer a number of unique innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss WaterWorks aqua park, a new teppanyaki dining venue, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse, a new BBQ restaurant offering mouth-watering favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri along with a four different kinds of craft beer brewed at a brewery on board.

Carnival Horizon will also offer such popular Vista-class features as an IMAX Theatre, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, the tropics-inspired Havana section with colorful staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Family Harbor with extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Royal Caribbean Announces Itineraries for 2019-2020 Season
Royal Caribbean International's expanding global footprint is evident in the 2019-2020 deployment plans, thanks to having unparalleled product offerings in the Caribbean, four new ports of call in Europe, and the first-ever Quantum Class ship to visit the Alaskan frontier. Combined with newly transformed ships designed to offer an unmatched short Caribbean vacation, Royal Caribbean is offering more adventures than ever for guests of all ages.

More Ways to See the Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is changing the game when it comes to short Caribbean cruise vacation offerings. Newly modernized and purposefully redesigned with families in mind, two of the cruise line's Voyager Class ships – Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas – will sail 3- and 4-night itineraries to The Bahamas. Touting favorites unique to Royal Caribbean, and new features catering to emerging trends and traveler preferences, both ships will represent the best product in the industry offering short, weekend vacations to the Caribbean. Mariner will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, while Navigator will be based in Miami where guests will be welcomed through Royal Caribbean's new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in PortMiami. Voyager Class changed the industry by introducing unexpected activities and adventures, including the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink and Royal Promenade. Together with some exciting new features, they will be perfect introductions for first-time guests and families, who are short on time, to experience the best of the Caribbean in a weekend.

Travelers from the Southwest also seeking short Caribbean getaways can take advantage of 4- and 5-night sailings on Enchantment of the Seas from Galveston, Texas to various destinations in Mexico, year-round. Short Caribbean itineraries will be available to book the week of Nov. 20, 2017. All itineraries will be available to book by Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members one day prior to the general opening date.

All four of the world's largest cruise ships – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas – will set sail from Florida in 2019 through April 2020. Oasis of the Seas, the first ship in its class, will undergo a bow-to-stern transformation before homeporting at Royal Caribbean's custom-built Terminal A at PortMiami for the fall and winter seasons, alongside her newest record-setting sister ship, Symphony of the Seas, which will be a year-round Miami resident.

After spending the previous year in Miami, Allure of the Seas will return to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades, while Harmony of the Seas will make Port Canaveral her new home. This move to Central Florida brings first of its kind innovations like the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea – within driving distance for markets throughout Florida, Georgia and the southeast region. All four Oasis Class ships will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, Liberty of the Seas will sail 7-night Western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas and Freedom of the Seas will sail 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 7-night Caribbean itineraries are available to book the week of Nov. 13, 2017.

Royal Caribbean will continue to have a strong footprint in the Northeast with Anthem of the Seas, sailing from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The smartship will sail 5- to 9-night summer itineraries to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean. For the fall season, Anthem of the Seas will offer 9-night itineraries to Canada and New England. For the second consecutive year, Royal Caribbean is doubling up on fan favorites in the New York metro area. Anthem will be joined by the recently upgraded Adventure of the Seas, offering 6- to 8-night itineraries to The Bahamas and Caribbean. Adventure also will offer select 6-night itineraries to Canada and New England during the summer, and longer 10- to 11-night fall foliage cruises beginning in September. Northeast, Canada and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 4, 2017.

The Views of Alaska Just Got Wilder

Making her U.S. debut for the 2019 Alaska summer season, Ovation of the Seas will transition from Sydney, Australia to her new summer homeport in Seattle, Washington. Only on Ovation will guests glimpse the Northern Lights and other Alaskan wonders from the North Star, the ship's signature glass observation capsule with panoramic views from 300 feet above sea level – the best views possible without taking flight. Ovation guests also will have the chance to skydive, surf and swim alongside glaciers from the comfort of the ship's thrilling indoor SeaPlex sports complex, Solarium and indoor or outdoor pools.

Ovation will sail 7-night itineraries to destinations from Juneau to Victoria, British Columbia, showcasing Alaska's natural treasures and luring adventure seekers with stately spruce forests, island-studded waters, native wildlife and awe-inspiring glaciers. Ovation will join Radiance of the Seas in the Alaska market, which sails 7- night open-jaw itineraries between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia. Alaska itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

New Northern Europe and Mediterranean Adventures

Royal Caribbean will discover the untold stories of four new European ports of call. Travelers can now visit the world's best preserved medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage site, Visby, Sweden; Zadar, Croatia, offering national parks, waterfalls and Roman-era history; the glamorous, picture-perfect fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Rivera; and Porto, Portugal, the country's second largest city, famed for its charming, breathtaking scenery steeped in history.

For the first time since 2014, Oasis of the Seas will spend the summer season in Europe, sailing from the iconic port city of Barcelona, Spain, known for its world-class art, architecture, design and culinary scene. As the largest ship sailing in the Mediterranean, Oasis will bring together old world destinations and modern experiences only found on board Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships – the distinct seven-neighborhood concept, imaginative and sophisticated dining, Broadway entertainment and the iconic waterfront AquaTheater. Oasis will sail 7-night itineraries, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseille, France; and Florence, Rome and Naples, Italy. Europe itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. Signs Agreement With Ulstein Verft For Building Of New Polar Vessel
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. today announced that it has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Ulstein to build the world's foremost expedition ship.

The new vessel will be built in Ulsteinvik, Norway and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in subsequent years.

The state-of-the-art polar vessel has been designed as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact. A core feature is Ulstein's signature X-BOW®, a distinctive bow that provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas; and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions. The ship's expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability underway, whether at zero speed when stopped for wildlife observation, or embarking/disembarking the ship.

"We are incredibly excited to be working with Ulstein and their brilliant team of engineers and designers on this state-of-the-art vessel as we continue expansion of our fleet. It is the next step in the long-term growth of the company, and will be the most extraordinary global expedition ship in the world on a multitude of levels," said Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad.

"The launch of this ship will mark the 50th anniversary year of the first-ever purpose-built expedition ship, Lindblad Explorer, which was built by my father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, and will set another important milestone in the company's commitment to deliver expedition travel at its best," added Lindblad.

In keeping with the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ethos to connect guests with the environment being explored, the ship will be designed to access the outside environment from anywhere on the ship. With 75% of the cabins featuring balconies for private viewing; multiple observation decks inside and outside, and new "observation wings," the surrounding environs will always be accessible. Off-ship exploring will be greatly enhanced with an innovative Zodiac loading system which will allow everyone to get ashore quickly and safely, ensuring quick access to every destination. The ship's complement of expedition tools for exploration will include kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras, a helicopter landing platform, and more to be announced in the coming months.

The ship will afford gracious comfort and an unparalleled level of service, with the highest comfort class for guests to ensure a quiet and peaceful environment onboard. The 69 spacious guest cabins and suites will include 12 cabins for solo travelers. The spa and fitness area will include treatment rooms, saunas, a fitness room, a relaxation area and yoga room; and there will be two infinity Jacuzzis for the utmost relaxation in pristine environments. Dining offerings include a main restaurant with outstanding views to the surroundings, and an outdoor barbeque and bistro area.

"Our expedition cruises, operated through our alliance with Lindblad Expeditions, have delivered remarkable experiences to our guests for the past 13 years," said Nancy Schumacher, head of Travel and Tour Operations for National Geographic. "The expansion of the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet is truly terrific news, as it allows us to offer these unforgettable trips to even more travelers in the future. We look forward to joining our partner Lindblad Expeditions in celebrating the launch of the latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet."

"We are pleased to have been chosen as a partner for this exciting project. Lindblad is an innovative company and a frontrunner in the exploration cruise industry. We look forward to turning this project into reality together with Lindblad and their partners," stated Gunvor Ulstein, CEO at Ulstein Group.

Royal Caribbean Reports Record Third Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported record third quarter results of $3.49 per share, which includes a $0.20 negative impact from the recent hurricanes; updated full year guidance to a range of $7.35 to $7.40, which includes a $0.26 negative impact from the recent hurricanes; and introduced its new three-year program designed to further drive performance: 20/20 Vision.

THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income for the third quarter were $752.8 million or $3.49 per share, better than previous guidance. Last year, US GAAP Net Income was $693.3 million, or $3.21 per share, and Adjusted Net Income was $690.9 million, or $3.20 per share.

Gross Yields were up 5.6% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Yields were up 5.3% on a Constant-Currency basis. This was better than previous guidance due to strong close in booking and pricing trends on China, Europe, and North American itineraries. While the hurricanes had a negative impact on overall revenue, they were neutral to Net Yields in the third quarter.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCDs increased 5.2% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") Excluding Fuel per APCDs were up 5.7% on a Constant-Currency basis. The reduction in capacity due to the hurricanes mainly drove the increase in the cost metric relative to guidance. Absolute costs for the quarter were better than expected, mainly due to timing.

Favorable trends in fuel, in both price and consumption, also provided a benefit to the quarter. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the third quarter was $498.55 per metric ton and consumption was 322.4 metric tons.

"Delivering record earnings during a period of such unprecedented disruption is a testament to the strength in demand for cruising and for our brands," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "Strong demand trends coupled with our continued cost discipline have put us in a strong position to successfully complete our Double-Double program. As a matter of fact, I am pleased to report that we have already achieved our Double-Double targets on a trailing twelve month basis through September 2017."

FULL YEAR 2017

Royal Caribbean said that it expects full year Adjusted EPS guidance to be in the range of $7.35 to $7.40 per share. Excluding the cost of the hurricanes, Adjusted EPS would have been in the range of $7.60 to $7.65 per share.

Constant-Currency and As-Reported Net Yields are expected to increase approximately 6.0% for the full year and NCC ex. Fuel per APCDs are expected to be up approximately 2.0% on a Constant-Currency and As-Reported basis.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company expects 2017 Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $7.35 to $7.40 per share.

FOURTH QUARTER 2017

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up 2.0% to 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017. NCC ex. Fuel are expected to be up approximately 8.5% on a Constant-Currency basis. The year-over-year increase is driven by planned sales and marketing investments, timing of third quarter costs and lower than expected APCDs due to the hurricanes.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects fourth quarter Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $1.15 to $1.20 per share.

2018 OUTLOOK

Royal Caribbean said that it is experiencing strong early booking trends for 2018. Booked load factors and APDs are higher than same time last year while the booking window has continued to extend. Management is excited by the 2018 introduction of Symphony of the Seas in Europe next spring and Celebrity Edge in Fort Lauderdale in December of 2018. While still early in the booking cycle, the view for 2018 is encouraging and the company expects another year of solid yield and earnings growth.

Crystal Symphony Completes Her Most Dramatic Redesign Ever
Crystal Cruise Lines announced this week that Crystal Symphony has emerged from dry dock, returning to the seas with newly designed spaces, features and amenities that luxury travelers crave. The ship's new Open Seating dining concept ushers in new restaurants on board, while more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouse accommodations were added. Throughout the ship, state-of-the-art technological upgrades were installed, enhancing guests' connectivity and access to entertainment and news on demand. The month-long dry dock redesign marks the most expansive makeover in Crystal Symphony's esteemed history, and reaffirms Crystal's commitment to providing the most luxurious ocean experiences in the world.

"The enhancements made on Crystal Symphony provide guests with more choices and flexibility than ever before, whether it's the ability to dine at their leisure, stay connected to family and friends on shore, or enjoy a variety of new entertainment options onboard," says Crystal's president and CEO, Tom Wolber. "While we continue to innovate at the forefront of the industry, our focus will always be on the consistent quality and personal attention to detail and service that makes Crystal Cruises the world's most awarded luxury cruise line."

Crystal Symphony's new look is decidedly modern, particularly in regard to the high-tech features in staterooms and penthouses, although, the ship still boasts the classic elegance that has enabled it to transcend trends throughout the years. Crystal Symphony's stunning redesign includes:

New Penthouses and Penthouse Suites
Crystal Symphony now features more spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, with the newly added Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (12 new suites) and Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (28 new suites), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses are paired by shared entryways recessed from the hall.

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ship's guest capacity to 848, while the number of crew on board remains the same. Crystal has long led the industry in abundant space and number of crew per guest aboard its ships, and the decreased guest capacity enhances the atmosphere of copious space in public areas and dining venues.

New Open Dining Concept and Restaurants
The world-class culinary experience also enjoyed an evolution, as brand new stylish restaurants are debuted. Most significantly, a brand new Open Seating concept allows guests to dine at their leisure, affording more choices and flexibility for evening dining and entertainment. While the design and menu of global selections have evolved, the classic elegance, Michelin-level cuisine and superlative service remain.

Waterside has emerged in place of the former Crystal Dining Room, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance found in the restaurants of the same name aboard Crystal River Cruises. Added tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine as they wish eliminating Crystal's previous format of assigned seating and times. Waterside continues to serve breakfast and lunch.

Moving into the former Lido Café space are Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. Marketplace continues to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and is converted into Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue in the evening creating an additional dining option for guests. Churrascaria features a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serves a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled meats presented by Crystal "gauchos" on sword-like skewers.

Newly adjacent to the existing Trident Grill on the Lido Deck is Silk Kitchen & Bar, offering full service dinner of modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. The Trident Grill remains in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.

Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, has been rebranded as Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. The authentic venue serves the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and remains the only Nobu restaurants at sea. The ship's second specialty restaurant, Prego, remains the same, continuing to serve regional specialties of Italy.

High-Tech Enhancements
Upon completion of Crystal Symphony's dry dock, all guests now enjoy unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal's investment in technological amenities for guests includes hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal – Crystal Connect – is now featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions; and the ship's location, itinerary and points of interest. A number of international newspapers are available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, music, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect is also available for use on guests' personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ship – in each stateroom and in all public areas – high-definition, interactive flat-panel TVs enable guests to conveniently access onboard programs, view the Crystal Spa & Salon menu, the Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus.

Reimagined Public Spaces and Entertainment
Several favorite shipboard spaces also enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of guests' onboard experience. Crystal Symphony's mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, was also refitted, boasting a fresh design to complement its vast sea views and brand new technological capabilities.

Underlining the newly revamped entertainment venues is a brand-new production show, Crystal in Motion. The production showcases the vast repertoire of the Crystal Ensemble, featuring various genres of music and dance, and replaces the former "welcome aboard" show in the Galaxy Lounge. Additionally, the ship will offer evening-long entertainment options around the ship as guests enjoy anytime dining. The Starlite Club features varied acts from the Crystal Ensemble, as well as comedians, ballroom dance group and the Crystal Show Band, performing on select evenings of each voyage.

Crystal will continue its investment into its award-winning ocean ships with the equally extensive redesign for Crystal Serenity, set for fall 2018.

Carnival Brands Return to Grand Turk, St. Thomas, San Juan
With the vast majority of the Caribbean untouched by recent storms and open for business, the region's momentum continues as cruise line brands from Carnival Corporation & plc begin returning this month to Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Most of the nearly 100 destinations in the Caribbean have been fully operational since the storms, and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) reports that nearly 90 percent of the region is open for business.

Carnival Corporation brands have operated normal schedules in the aftermath of the September storms, modifying itineraries for only a handful of impacted destinations. Vigorous recovery efforts to restore cruise travel to those affected destinations have led to the re-opening of cruise ports in Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan.

Below is a summary of when Carnival Corporation brands return to these three popular destinations:

• Carnival Cruise Line returned to Grand Turk on November 1, and will return to San Juan on November 30 and St. Thomas on January 9.

• Seabourn visits St. Thomas today and will return to San Juan starting on December 18.

• Holland America Line will return to Grand Turk on November 6, St. Thomas starting on November 8 and San Juan starting on December 7.

• AIDA Cruises will return to Grand Turk beginning November 9.

• Princess Cruises will return to St. Thomas starting on November 12, Grand Turk starting on December 15 and San Juan starting on December 20.

• Costa Cruises will return to San Juan starting on December 17 and Grand Turk on December 23.

• P&O Cruises UK will return to Grand Turk on December 20.

"The Caribbean covers a far-reaching region of more than one million square miles, so it is important to know the vast majority of its islands realized little or no impact from the September storms, and we have been sailing thousands of guests to the Caribbean for great vacations," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "The Caribbean is the world's most popular region for cruise vacations – and its people and businesses are not only great hosts to our guests, but they also have a strong spirit and resilience. So, for those few islands that were impacted, we applaud them for their tireless efforts to recover and rebound, stronger than ever. We are thrilled to have our brands beginning to return to renowned destinations such as Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan, and we know our guests will also be happy to have those ports as part of their cruise vacation."

In October, the FCCA announced it launched www.CaribbeanIsOpen.com, a website that is part of its multifaceted, million-dollar campaign to generate awareness that the majority of Caribbean destinations are operating normally, unhindered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and have been welcoming and continue to welcome tens of thousands of travelers every day.

"The landing site is an invaluable resource for destinations and cruise lines to spread information about and footage of the beautiful destinations awaiting guests," said Michele Paige, president of FCCA. "It is crucial to connect with potential travelers and show them that most of the unparalleled experiences in the Caribbean are fully available to them as they plan upcoming vacations, and also to let them know that the best way to show support is to travel to the Caribbean, as the entire region greatly benefits from tourism."

The website – CaribbeanIsOpen – features footage of and updates from destinations, a map showing that nearly 90 percent of the region's ports are open and welcoming guests, a Q&A broaching potential travelers' questions about visiting the Caribbean, testimonials from travelers that recently visited the Caribbean and more.

Carnival Signs Agreement With Shell To Fuel LNG-Powered Cruise Ships
Carnival Cruise Line today announced it has signed an agreement with Shell NA LNG, LLC (Shell) to be its supplier of marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power North America's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships. Under this framework agreement, Shell will supply Carnival Cruise Line with fuel for its two new LNG-powered ships expected to launch in 2020 and 2022 and to be homeported in North America.

As part of the agreement, the two ships, built with a next-generation "green cruising" ship design, will be fueled through Shell's LNG Bunker Barge (LBB) – a project announced earlier this week as part of Shell's strategic plan to develop a global LNG bunkering network. The ocean-going LBB, which is designed to support growing cruise line demand for LNG as a marine fuel, will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and will allow these ships to refuel with LNG at ports along the southern U.S. East Coast.

"This agreement is a significant stepping stone in our relationship with Carnival Corporation building upon our previous LNG marine fuel supply agreements in Europe," said Tahir Faruqui, president, Shell NA LNG, LLC. "It also marks a milestone as we continue to establish the marine LNG fuel market in the U.S. as a credible part of the global marine fuel mix."

The two new Carnival Cruise Line vessels will be fully powered by LNG both while in port and at sea – an industry first and an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality with cleaner emissions and produce the most efficient ships in company history. The 180,000-ton ships will be the largest ships in Carnival Cruise Line's fleet with an approximate passenger capacity of 5,200 based on double occupancy.

"Carnival Cruise Line is strongly committed to leading the way in the implementation of technology innovations to help protect the environment and support our aggressive sustainability goals," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Our two new cruise ships entering service in 2020 and 2022 will not only be the largest and most technologically advanced in our fleet but will break extraordinary new ground as the first LNG-powered cruise ships in North America."

Added Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation, "We are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry. One of the keys to establishing LNG as a standard for powering cruise ships is building out an extensive, safe and reliable infrastructure across the globe for this clean burning fossil fuel. We are looking forward to working closely with Shell as they help to bring LNG to North America in what we hope will be the first step in building a strong foundation for the future of LNG fuel supply for cruise ships in the region."

This agreement builds on the partnership established between Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises brand and Shell in April of 2016 to supply its AIDAprima ship with LNG to power the vessel while docked. AIDAprima is the first cruise ship in the world to use LNG while in port, leading to a major reduction in emissions.

The partnership was extended in fall 2016 when Carnival Corporation signed an agreement with Shell to supply LNG for the first of its next-generation LNG ships from its European AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises brands. These two ships will be the world's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships when they enter service in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, the agreement furthers the realization of Carnival Corporation's LNG efforts that began in 2015 with AIDAsol becoming the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with power by an LNG hybrid barge, which also saw major benefits while in port.

In total, Carnival Corporation has agreements in place with leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku to build seven LNG-powered cruise ships across four of its 10 global cruise brands with delivery dates between 2018 and 2022 – two for AIDA Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2018 and 2021, two for Costa Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2019 and 2021, one for P&O Cruises UK with an expected delivery date in 2020 and two for Carnival Cruise Line with expected delivery dates in 2020 and 2022.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.67 - 0.53
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.34 + 2.75%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.01 - 2.43%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.26/FONT> + 0.84

Cruise News Trivia Question:
In May of 1972, on voyage number 84, Cunard's QE2 picked up four unexpected passengers during a trans-Atlantic crossing. Who were they, and how did they end up onboard QE2?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - The first cruise ship to be fitted with a podded proplusion system was Carnival Cruise Lines' Elation (number 491), and was delivered in February 1998 from MasaYards in Helsinki, Finland.
courtesy of Steve Perry, Miami, Florida USA


Cruise News - October 30, 2017

First Look At Virgin Voyages Ships
Virgin Voyages revealed the first renderings of its 110,000gt newbuild at a keel-laying ceremony at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente ship yard in Italy. The ceremony was attended by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin. Entertainment was provided by Boy George—who sang and acted as DJ for the ceremony.

According to renderings of the new ships, the hull will be silvery-gray, with smoked glass and splashes of red including a red stack, and the bow is adorned with a mermaid icon designed by Toby Tinsley that Virgin said represents the ship's 'feminine spirit.'

At the keel laying, McAlpin announced an 'adult by design' concept. The line will design its experience for travelers 18 and older as a result of feedback from future 'sailors'—as Virgin calls passengers—and travel partners. The ship has a streamlined look. "We wanted to make it sleek, make it fun," McAlpin said.

To ensure a close connection to the sea, 86% of all cabins will feature a sea terrace and 93% an ocean view. McAlpin said Virgin will create a sophisticated ship and a transformational experience that offers a place where 'rejuvenating day life meets exciting nightlife and everything in between.'

Branson and McAlpin were lowered 200 feet to the ceremony stage via a crane. They were joined by Bain Capital chairman Stephen Pagliuca and Fincantieri general manager Alberto Maestrini. The group participated in the ceremonial welding of coins to the keel for good luck.

"She will be the most recognizable ship sailing the seven seas, delivering an irresistible sailor experience," Branson pledged. 'We’re also committed to making sure our crew are the happiest at sea and will be proud to sail with us.'

Virgin has contracted for a total of three shis. The first ship is due to enter service in 2020 from Miami and two additional ships are on the order books, with deliveries schedule for 2021 and 2022. Detailed itineraries have not yet been revealed but the initial ships are expected to operate in the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean Returns to San Juan and St. Maarten
Royal Caribbean International today announced the cruise line’s return to San Juan, Puerto Rico and Philipsburg, St. Maarten marking a major milestone towards the revival of these Caribbean gems which were impacted by recent hurricanes. On Nov. 30, Freedom of the Seas will be the first ship in the fleet to call on San Juan, Puerto Rico, arriving with approximately 3,782 visitors to the island that is renowned for its passionate, welcoming spirit. Grandeur of the Seas will follow suit on Dec. 17 as the first cruise ship to sail into, St. Maarten since Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas arrived to provide humanitarian relief last month. This announcement comes on the heels of Royal Caribbean’s recent news that Adventure of the Seas will be the first ship to call on St. Thomas on Nov. 10.

“Royal Caribbean is encouraged by the commendable progress that has been made by the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten towards the recovery of these destinations and it means a lot to us that we are heading back home. We have been part of the Caribbean community for almost 50 years, and for all of us it has been paramount that we focus on supporting our long-standing partners – who feel more like family after so many years,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Supporting these destinations that are so reliant on tourism is key to the future of the islands and the best thing we – as travelers and businesses – can do for the islands.”

Working closely with the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten, and local businesses, Royal Caribbean will be able to offer destination experiences that will allow guests to enjoy the natural beauty, historic landmarks and culture of these idyllic islands. With power and transportation on track to be readily available in San Juan by Nov. 30, guests can tour the city by foot, bike, Segway or bus; explore the epic fortresses of El Morro and San Cristobal in Old San Juan; spend the day on the beach at VIVO Beach Club; or admire the countryside through Cueva Ventana – the Window Cave – which sits atop an 800-foot limestone cliff.

Similarly, the return of power and water to most of St. Maarten means that a majority of the shops, restaurants and bars, and tour operators around Philipsburg will be fully operational for guests to experience a diverse and extensive array of dining, shopping and activities in the area. The sun and vistas of the region’s best beaches, Great Bay Beach and Kimshaw Beach, will be a beacon for guests wanting to dive into the turquoise blue waters and admire the sea life, whether by boat or catamaran, or from the relaxing comfort of a beach lounger.

As of Nov. 30, all scheduled calls to San Juan and St. Thomas across 10 ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet will operate as planned – including calls from the world’s largest cruise ships each sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. The scheduled visits to St. Maarten will operate as planned starting on Dec. 17 with the exception of Oasis of the Seas, which will make its first call to the island on January 1 during her New Year’s Eve cruise. Additionally, the global cruise line will return to St. Croix on January 8 with the arrival of Jewel of the Seas, which will sail from San Juan. All calls to Dominica are cancelled through June 2018 and the cruise line is working closely with the local government on a return date to the destination.

Disney Cruise Line Expands San Diego Season
In early 2019, Disney Cruise Line will return to favorite destinations on a variety of itineraries, including an expanded two-month season from San Diego to the sun-drenched Baja and Mexican Riviera. A host of options to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida ports, plus cruises to the Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico, take Disney Cruise Line guests to visit timeless tropical locales and experience endless amounts of Disney magic.

From January to May, all cruises departing from Florida feature a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. The award-wining island is a pristine Bahamian oasis boasting clear turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, world-class recreation and signature Disney hospitality.

Bookings open to the public on Nov. 2, 2017. More details on 2019 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2019 page of disneycruise.com.

San Diego to Baja and Mexican Riviera

The Disney Wonder returns to San Diego for an extended season from March to May 2019, with a variety of cruises to Mexico where Disney Cruise Line guests can enjoy vibrant culture, stunning beaches, exciting water activities, cliff diving and ziplining through the jungle. Onboard two-, four-, five- and seven-night voyages, unparalleled fun awaits the entire family.

Most sailings to Mexico's Baja peninsula call on the charming coastal city of Ensenada, known as the "Cinderella of the Pacific" with its turquoise blue water and rugged mountainous terrain. Two-night cruises to Ensenada boast Friday departures from San Diego, giving guests the ultimate weekend getaway to experience world-class entertainment aboard the Disney Wonder.

Four- and five-night Baja options include a visit to Cabo San Lucas, a destination favored for its arid climate and sunny weather, dotted with dramatic rock formations and bordered by white-sand beaches.

Seven-night sailings to the Mexican Riviera call on Cabo San Lucas and feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán. These week-long cruises offer Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to make magical memories together while soaking up the history and Old World charm of Mexico's Pacific Coast and taking in the beauty of stunning beaches and the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Southern Caribbean

In January, three special Disney Wonder cruises from San Juan sail to the Southern Caribbean, visiting tropical destinations renowned for beautiful sun-kissed beaches and warm azure waters. On the six- and seven-night sailings, Disney Cruise Line guests can dive into charming island cultures, sunbathe on golden beaches and revel in local marketplaces.

The Disney Wonder arrives to San Juan after a five-night journey departing Jan. 9 from Galveston, Texas, with a stop in Falmouth, Jamaica.

On Feb. 3, a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, Florida, just an hour away from Walt Disney World Resort—the perfect stop for a fairytale land and sea adventure.

Port Canaveral to Bahamas and Eastern and Western Caribbean

With three Disney ships in port and cruise lengths spanning three, four and seven nights, vacationers looking for a getaway in early 2019 have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida. Every sailing includes a day at Castaway Cay, where only Disney Cruise Line guests can enjoy splashtacular fun at Castaway Family Beach or escape to the secluded, adults-only Serenity Bay.

The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Caribbean voyages, with Eastern Caribbean itineraries visiting the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises calling on Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Falmouth.

The Disney Dream embarks on three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay, and the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries throughout February.

Miami to Bahamas and Western Caribbean

To kick off 2019, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus five-night Western Caribbean cruises.

The magical shores of Castaway Cay await guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings. Other ports of call on the Bahamian voyages include Nassau and Key West, Florida, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.

Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun Retrofitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today the successful completion of the retrofitting of a new Exhaust Gas Cleaning system on two of its ships, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Jade. In conjunction with the line's Sail & Sustain environmental program, the new systems are aimed at significantly reducing air emissions and, subsequently, the ships' environmental footprints. Early in 2014, Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to commit to retrofitting six vessels and has exceeded that commitment with now eight total ships.

With the installation of the new technology into two more ships, Norwegian Cruise Line is continuing to exemplify its commitment of applying safe and conservative environmental practices across the fleet. The ships’ new lightweight in-line scrubbers are a hybrid technology developed by Yara Marine Technologies that are able to operate in open loop, closed loop and closed loop with bleed off mode. In each ship, five scrubbers were installed, one per engine, covering the whole propulsion system. Collectively, they are capable of reducing the emission of sulfur to air up to 99 percent and also reduce 85 percent particulate emission to the air. Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun’s new technology will reduce the equivalent of approximately 3,000 tons of Sulfur Oxide, SOx, gas in the years to come.

The new system works by “scrubbing away” the sulfur oxide and particulate matter before the emissions leave the stack to decrease the amount that is released into the air, resulting in a clean white plume of steam.

Norwegian led the industry by being the first cruise line to install scrubbers with a state-of-the-art water membranes filtration unit in 2016. This sophisticated water cleaning system uses Ultrafiltration technology to clean the recirculated water during the closed loop operation down to clear water. The by-product is collected and removed in drums.

As part of Sail & Sustain, Norwegian’s Safety and Environmental Protection Policy establishes several objectives relating to the environment, which include reducing the impact of its operations on the environment, disposing garbage and waste materials in accordance with national and international rules and regulations, recycling and re-using materials and establishing specific objectives and targets for continual improvement of environmental management programs.

Norwegian now has eight ships outfitted with Gas Scrubbers technology, with Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun joining Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Joy and Pride of America and the line’s newest ship sailing in June 2018, Norwegian Bliss. Norwegian Cruise Line is on track to meet its MARPOL Annex VI compliance goal of reducing its global sulfur cap from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent by 2020.

American Cruise Lines Triples Capacity in the Entire Pacific Northwest
American Cruise Lines announces two new itineraries for 2018 in Puget Sound—5-day Highlights of Puget Sound and 11-day Grand Puget Sound. These spectacular cruises are roundtrip from Seattle, WA, and will triple the Line's capacity in the region, as the Line already offers a popular 8-day cruise to Puget Sound & the San Juan Islands and cruises to Alaska.

Earlier this year, American Cruise Lines announced it was sending its newest ship, American Constellation to Alaska for the 2018 season, doubling the Line's capacity there. The new ship will enable the Line to offer these two new itineraries in Puget Sound, positioning it to meet the industry's hot demand for cruise travel to Alaska and the entire Pacific Northwest.

The Pacific Northwest is one of the world's most majestic cruising destinations. The abbreviated Highlights of Puget Sound cruise includes ports-of-call such as, Anacortes, Friday Harbor, and Port Townsend. The Grand Puget Sound itinerary spans a longer journey and cruises the San Juan Islands, including additional ports of call such as Olympia, Tacoma, and Victoria, British Columbia.

"The Pacific Northwest is one of the most captivating locations in the United States and we are thrilled to be able to offer so many unique itinerary options aboard the newest ship in the region." says Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines.

American Constellation will transition to the west coast in time to sail several of the 8-day Tulip Festival cruises on Puget Sound in April, before it heads to Alaska for the summer season. The new Grand Puget Sound and Highlights of Puget Sound cruises will start in the fall. Each itinerary offers award-winning enrichment programs and guided tours at each port, as well as onboard historians, naturalists, and local experts.

Carnival Names Richard Pruitt VP Evironmental Operations
Richard Pruitt, a highly respected and seasoned cruise industry professional, has been named vice president, environmental operations at Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line effective November 20, 2017. He will report to Mark Jackson, senior vice president, technical operations, for Carnival Cruise Line.

As vice president of environmental operations, Pruitt will be focused on further strengthening and expanding the company’s shipboard and shoreside environmental programs and practices.

“Rich is extremely well respected in the industry and we’re thrilled to gain his exceptional knowledge, expertise and leadership,” said Jackson. “We look forward to tapping into his experience to ensure we maintain the highest level of operational standards.”

Previously Pruitt was at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. for 13 years, serving in a variety of positions, including associate vice president/vice president, safety and environmental stewardship and as the director and associate vice president of environmental programs. Most recently, Pruitt served as the principal and founder of RMP Sustainability, a company providing consulting services on environmental equipment marketing, compliance and sustainability initiatives to industry associations and companies.

Pruitt began his career in the U.S. Air Force where he spent 10 years as an Airborne Russian Linguist and Mission Supervisor. He then served for 13 years in the U.S Coast Guard in various roles, including program manager, passenger vessel safety and security.

Since 2010 Pruitt has been an active guardian ad litem for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida, and has served on the board/executive committee of several organizations, including Florida Ocean Alliance, Florida Sea Grant Advisory Council, Florida Oceans and Coastal Council, U.S. N.O.A.A. National Marine Sanctuary Business Advisory Council, International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators and the North American Marine Environment Protection Association. He was chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association’s Maritime Safety and Environmental committees, and founding board member of Voices for Children Broward.

Pruitt holds an Environmental MBA from Florida Atlantic University, a BA degree in Management from National Louis University and an AA degree in Russian Interpreting from the Community College of the Air Force.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.02 - 0.12
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.99 + 0.21%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.06 - 1.90%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.80 + 2.01

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
A number of famous liners operated with four funnels (Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania, Kronprinzessin Cecilie, and France of 1912 to name a few...) but only one passenger ship operated with FIVE funnels. Name that ship and the year she entered service.

Answer - The first(and only) ship to operate with five funnels was the 700 foot long GREAT EASTERN which entered service in 1860
courtesy of Jonathan Miller.


Cruise News - October 23, 2017

Carnival Horizon Atrium Sculpture To Feature Artwork Created By St. Jude Hospital Patients
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that the massive LED "Dreamscape" atrium sculpture on the new Carnival Horizon will feature colorful, custom-designed artwork created by patients of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital when the 133,500-ton ship debuts in Europe in spring 2018.

The eye-catching three-deck high centerpiece in Carnival Horizon's atrium will feature 33 different artistic creations from patients of St. Jude, one of Carnival's largest charitable partners.

The announcement was made at Carnival's Day of Play, an annual event held for children and their families at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. The theme of this year's event was Carnival Playtime and kids and their families enjoyed popular games like Sorry! Guess Who, and Yahtzee inspired by Hasbro, The Game Show, featured on board Carnival ships. Face-painting, arts and crafts, and Carnival-themed giveaways were also offered.

Designed by Techno Media, Dreamscape is a uniquely designed, 24-foot funnel-shaped centerpiece comprised of more than 2,000 flexible LED tiles that have been customized for the shipboard environment. Each day, technicians on board program the rotating artwork based on the time of day, port or occasion.

The young artists were tasked with creating fun pieces with bright bold colors showcasing their personalities. The original St. Jude creations complement the more than 100 images that continually rotate throughout the day and evening bringing the ship to life and providing guests of all ages with a unique and memorable vacation backdrop.

Carnival's partnership with St. Jude began in 2010 and was expanded in 2013 with the cruise line being named the hospital's official celebration partner. Over the past seven years, Carnival has raised more than $13 million for St. Jude through a range of engaging activities, both on board and ashore.

"As the hospital's Official Celebration Partner, we couldn't be happier to showcase these amazing creations designed by the talented St. Jude patients on our newest ship," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We are always looking to bring to life our partnerships in a way that also gives back. We do that on each cruise with Groove for St. Jude and we did it on Carnival Vista with Brownie Buoy, a specially designed flavor with proceeds benefiting the hospital. This is just another way to recognize the work St. Jude's does for the families and patients they serve."

"Featuring the inspirational artwork of St. Jude patients in the Carnival Horizon atrium is an extraordinary example of how Carnival Cruise Line continues to find creative ways to raise awareness of our mission to find cures and save the lives of children," said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Carnival has been a dedicated and deeply engaged partner of St. Jude for the past seven years – providing exciting and memorable experiences for patients and raising significant funds critical to advance the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. We are truly grateful for their longstanding support."

Carnival Horizon will offer a variety of onboard innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss-themed water park as well as a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, and an IMAX Theatre.

A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Azamara Announces New Destinations For Azamara Pursuit
Azamara Club Cruises, the cruise line known for its Destination Immersion programming, today revealed its 2018-19 sailings for the brand's newest addition, Azamara PursuitSM. The Azamara Pursuit, announced in September, joins sister ships Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey in providing guests with one-of-a-kind curated experiences and access to some of the most exotic destinations around the globe.

"We're thrilled to announce Azamara Pursuit's voyages," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "By expanding our destination offerings, guests will be able to experience even more regions of the world and revisit regions we haven't been to in some time now." Building on the Azamara brand promise, Pimentel continued, "Like its sisters, Azamara Pursuit will take guests to the most uniquely curated destination experiences."

Azamara Pursuit will increase the brand's destination offerings by 40% and will add 61 more destinations. Guests will also stay longer and experience more with 48 late nights and 26 overnights. Guests will get to experience some of the most unique destinations worldwide, including 15 maiden calls:

• Agadir, Morocco
• Monemvasia, Greece
• Antofagasta, Chile
• Pisco (San Martin), Peru
• Chilean Fjords
• Salaverry (Trujillo), Peru
• Cruising Beagle Channel
• Samos, Greece
• Fowey, United Kingdom
• San Antonio, Chile
• Laguna San Rafael, Chile
• Seyðisfjörður, Iceland
• Lima (Callao), Peru
• Spetses, Greece
• Maceió, Brazil

Azamara Pursuit will feature some of the most attractive and jaw-dropping experiences in key ports of South America and Europe.

Travelers sailing through South America will dock in marquee destinations such as Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, while also traversing through scenic channels such as the Fjords of Chile and Ushuaia, Argentina, the furthest south deep-water port. Guests can also expect holiday stops in Rio de Janeiro for New Year's Eve 2018 and for Carnaval in 2019. Like all Azamara voyages, the South American voyages will fully immerse guests in the most photo-worthy experiences, including:

Stargazing in Atacama Desert (Antofagasta, Chile): Sit back, look up and enjoy the peace, vastness and beauty of the stars in the Atacama Desert, the world's driest desert. Our three-day/two-night stargazing experience offers unparalleled views of millions of tiny diamonds against a black sky. Considered one of the best locations on earth to appreciate the Milky Way's brilliant collection of stars. Azamara will take you via chartered plane from Antofagasta to San Pedro de Atacama for a two-night stay at the 5-star Tierra Atacama (or similar). You'll visit Moon Valley, Quitor Fortress, Toconao Village & Chaxa Lagoon, then fly from Calama to La Serena via Santiago (on commercial air).

Casa de Aliaga (Lima, Peru): Guests will explore and embrace Peru when they dine in the oldest inhabited house in all of the Americas. This manor was built in 1536 during the Spanish conquest expedition of Peru. Your 17th generation family member and host will share this rich history of her family's manor and the experiences of living there since she was seven.

A Culinary Experience in Bohemian Barranco (Lima, Peru): As one of the world's top culinary destinations, guests will join a local foodie in Bohemian Barranco for a truly local experience. Walk through a typical Peruvian market, experience inspiring flavors and even prepare their own trademark Peruvian dishes like ceviche, while sipping Pisco Sours.

Yoga in the Paracas Desert (Pisco, Peru): While sailing on Azamara's South American itineraries through its Cruise Global, Connect LocalSM experience, travelers are in touch with nature and oneself as they take part in open-air yoga classes at Atenas Beach in the Paracas National Reserve.

Azamara continues to enhance their authentic Europe experiences by adding additional ports that bigger ships can not visit, including:

Inside the Volcano (Reykjavik, Iceland): Take an elevator into the magma chamber of dormant volcano, Thrihnukagigur - once filled with hot lava. The Three Peaks Crater erupted 4,000 years ago and is truly a unique natural phenomenon.

Cruise Global Stay Local – (Akureyri, Iceland to Seydisfjordur, Iceland): In a 2days/1 night excursion, guests can enjoy spectacular views of the Godafoss waterfall (the "Waterfall of the Gods"). See the natural wonders of Lake Mývatn including Skútustaðir craters, Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth and Námaskarð thermal field before ending the day in total relaxation at Mývatn Nature Baths health spa. Float in the bubbling warm lagoon or relax with a natural sulfur-free steam bath as you experience true calm. On day two, guests will also travel alongside Jökulsárgljúfur Glacial canyon to Seyðisfjörður, to see the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. Passing Húsavík village, they'll visit Hljóðaklettar and their echoing cliffs known for basalt columns. This place is known to be the meeting place of the pagan Gods. The last stop on this one-night excursion will be at Dettifoss waterfall, the biggest waterfall in Iceland and believed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

Greece Day Tour (Nauplion, Greece): Guests will visit the Monastery of St. John (Prodromos), built on the side of a rock face around 1167. They'll enjoy a spectacular Greek lunch at a wealthy Arcadian mansion of the 1840's, where guests will meet with the hotel owners.

Followed by a complimentary AzAmazing Evening in Rhodes, Greece where they'll spend the evening at Tafros Theater seeing an exclusive performance of the ancient Greek drama, Antigone by Sophocles (in English).

Azamara Pursuit is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, allowing guests access to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will now offer guests the opportunity to visit 7 continents and 217 ports from August 28, 2018 to April 5, 2019.

Cunard Returns to Alaska in 2019
In 2019, Cunard will sail to Alaska, bringing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest to guests once again. A series of voyages beginning in May 2019 will combine the magnificence of Alaska with the luxury of Cunard as Queen Elizabeth sails from Japan to Alaska and then remains in the region through June. The ship will then transport passengers down the West Coast of the United States, through the Panama Canal to New York, on to Iceland and the British Isles.

Cunard is thrilled to make our return to Alaska with our youngest ship Queen Elizabeth," said Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard North America. "Our guests can now explore the region on the best itinerary in Alaska—four 10-night round-trip Vancouver sailings with more time in port and opportunities to visit the natural wonders of Tracy Arm Fjord and Hubbard Glacier."

To start the Alaska program, Queen Elizabeth will sail from Tokyo (Yokohama) to Vancouver with a 27-night voyage on May 5, 2019 (Q915). Guests will cross the International Date Line sailing to the Alaskan port of Kodiak, home to the Alutiiq people for more than 7,000 years. The next stop is the beautiful capital of Juneau, then passing the pristine Tracy Arm Fjord or Endicott Arm, on to the quaint town of Skagway, and Icy Strait Point before visiting Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria and Vancouver. Launch fares from $4,409 per person.

Once in Alaska, Queen Elizabeth will offer four 10-night roundtrip Vancouver sailings, departing May 21, 31, June 10 and 20, 2019. Itineraries feature scenic cruising through the scenic waterways of the famous Inside Passage as well as full days in several of the region's highlight ports to discover the history and culture of the area. Guests will experience the gold rush spirit of Skagway and Juneau, the native tribes of Ketchikan and the Russian charm of Sitka. The itinerary also includes the Tracy Arm Fjord or Endicott Arm, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier and Victoria. Launch fares from $1,699 per person.

From Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth heads to the vibrant cities of San Francisco and then Los Angeles, for a rare overnight stay on July Fourth, a perfect way to celebrate the diverse beauty of North America.

MSC Cruises Launches Second World Cruise
MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe and South America, announced today the opening of sales for its second world cruise, setting sail in 2020 on board MSC Magnifica. MSC Voyagers Club members can begin booking today, and all other passengers can book beginning November 23.

The 2020 MSC World Cruise boasts a new itinerary that includes more exotic, bucket-list destinations than ever before, with more than 40 ports of call and 23 countries. With four different embarkation ports and dates to kick off the three-month voyage, travelers can select their ideal starting point for a more customized vacation experience. Guests will make their travel dreams come true by crossing the globe without ever needing to leave the comfort of their staterooms. And, on board the stunning MSC Magnifica, they will be able to journey from country to country in the style and comfort that only MSC Cruises delivers.

"Following the highly successful launch of our first MSC World Cruise last year, due to set to sail in January 2019, we are now delighted to open sales for a new world cruise for 2020 developed to offer guests experiences and destinations that they will never forget," said Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises. "In addition, the experience onboard MSC Magnifica – one of the jewels of our fleet - has been designed to reflect the cultures and cuisines of the countries that the ship visits, giving guests the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a true around the world voyage of discovery both on board and on shore."

Guests embarking from Civitavecchia/Rome, Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of January 2020 respectively will cross five continents on a three-month voyage of discovery to some of the world's most talked-about destinations. Travelers embarking on January 4, 2020 will actually be able to enjoy the ship one day early before official departure on January 5. To offer even more opportunities to explore, eight destinations will include an overnight stay in port, giving guests up to two days to experience the local attractions, cuisine and unique atmosphere.

The 2020 MSC World Cruise will visit 43 destinations in total, many of which are brand new, exotic destinations including, among many others:

• Ushuaia, Argentina – As the most southern city in the world, this Argentinian fishing village offers stunning water scenery with often snow-topped mountains.

• Rapa Nui / Easter Island – This island is famed globally for its unique collection of carved-stone figurines dating back to the 13th century.

• Darwin, Australia – Located at the northern tip of the country, the region allows guest to experience the true Australia – beaches, lagoons, sports and local wildlife, all within close proximity.

• Valparaiso, Chile – This city is famed for its small colored houses on its coastal hills, and guests can get a spectacular view out into the Pacific or explore the city, searching for its photo-worthy murals.

• Mumbai/Bombay, India – The bustling city of Mumbai (previously called Bombay) offers smells, tastes and sights around every corner.

• Salalah, Oman – With multiple waterfalls, exotic lush flora and unusual animals, this stop will be hard to forget.

MSC Cruises is known for providing authentic experiences through its wide range of shore excursions that allow guests to get closer to the action, discover new cultures and visit unique locations. The 2020 MSC World Cruise is no different, and to help guests make the most of their voyage, 15 shore excursions are included in the cost of the booking with additional excursions available to book in advance or during the cruise.

Highlights of these excursions include:

• In Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, guests can visit 'Turtle Bay' where it will be easy to understand the reason for the name. Participants can swim up-close and personal with two different breeds of turtles as well as possibly other marine life such as stingrays, manta rays, sharks and dolphins.

• In Aqaba, Petra, visitors can explore the ancient city of Petra in the middle of the Jordanian desert and traverse the narrow cut-through ravine revealing the famous rose-red rock carved temple.

• In Port Kelang, Kuala Lumpur, travelers can reach the peak of one of the world's most famous (and tallest) skyscrapers as you reach the top of the Kuala Lumpur Tower. From the top, guests can take in the breathtaking city views from above and capture the perfect vacation photos.

Guests on the World Cruise will also benefit from:

• A complimentary Mealtime Restaurant Drinks Package, which includes unlimited wine, mineral water, draft beer, sodas and fruit juices during lunch and dinner in the main dining room and buffet

• A 30% reduction on all laundry services More than 90 shows performed in the ship's Royal Theatre, including 30 Broadway-style shows and a wide range of live music, including acts inspired by the itinerary

• A comprehensive activity schedule with theme evenings, language classes, cultural guest speakers and much more

Guests will travel in style and comfort aboard MSC Magnifica, featuring an award-winning Balinese spa, one of the highest ratios of balcony staterooms at sea and fresh and authentic dining options that are a key feature of a MSC Cruises getaway.

Viking Orders Seven New River Ships For 2019
Viking today announced it has placed an order for seven new river ships that will debut in 2019. The newbuild order includes six additional Viking Longships, which will sail the company's most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, and one additional vessel, inspired by the Longships and specifically designed for Portugal's Douro River. This announcement comes on the heels of Viking being named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication's 2017 Readers' Choice Awards. With the addition of the new river ships, Viking will operate a fleet of 69 river vessels around the world in 2019. Also by 2019, Viking will welcome its sixth ocean ship and will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line.

"We knew there was an opportunity to do things differently when we started this company 20 years ago," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "In the last two decades, we have led the industry to define what modern river cruising looks like today. We continue to lead the industry with the largest fleet, the widest selection of itineraries and stateroom categories, and the most awards of any river cruise line. The Viking way of exploration has resonated with our target audience of experienced travelers, and this new ship order is a reflection of strong demand for more destination-focused cruises."

Of the seven vessels on order for 2019, six are Viking Longships, which have amassed a long list of prestigious awards since their debut. Viking's accolades include recognition by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line" and "Best River Itineraries," with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named "Best New River Ships" in the website's "Editors' Picks Awards." More recently, Viking topped USA Today's annual Readers' Choice Cruise Poll for "Best River Cruise Line," and was named "Best Danube River Cruise Operator" in AFAR magazine's 2017 Travelers' Choice Awards.

Viking Longships integrate a patented corridor design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These features include a revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco.

Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships have a patented layout that allows for two Explorer Suites – the largest river cruise suites in Europe – as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom; 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas; and 22 French Balcony Staterooms. Staterooms include comfortable amenities such as hotel-style beds, heated bathroom floors, mini fridge, and both U.S. and EU outlets. Additionally, all Viking Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.

Viking's additional ship on order for 2019 will be designed specifically for the company's Portugal's River of Gold itinerary. As a result of high customer demand, the new sister ship will join Viking's existing fleet of three ships on the Douro. Hosting 106 passengers in 53 staterooms, the Douro ships are smaller than Viking Longships, but feature many of the same popular features – including an Aquavit Terrace, a wide variety of stateroom choices, onboard solar panels and an organic herb garden, as well as Viking's signature Scandinavian design aesthetic.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.10 - 3.14
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.74 - 4.44%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.10 + 0.96%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.72 - 8.83

Cruise News Trivia Question:
A number of famous liners operated with four funnels (Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania, Kronprinzessin Cecilie, and France of 1912 to name a few...) but only one passenger ship operated with FIVE funnels. Name that ship and the year she entered service.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Holland America's Rotterdam of 1959 (now a museum ship/hotel in Rotterdam) had a unique central staircase that allowed first class and tourist class passengers to use the the stairs at the same time without ever meeting each other. How was this feat accomplished and what was the inspiration for this design feature?

Answer - The Rotterdam of 1959 had a staircase that comprised of two inter-spiralling staircases that allowed both first class and tourist class to travel vertically and permitted them to access their own grade of deck. This feature was copied from the Chateau de Chambord in France.
courtesy of Les Grant.


Cruise News - October 16, 2017

FEMA Charters Carnival Fascination For Hurricane Relief, Cruises Cancelled
Carnival announced this week that in response to a request for proposal from the U.S government, Carnival Cruise Line finalized an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on October 11 for a four-month charter of the cruise ship Carnival Fascination. Per FEMA’s request, the ship will be docked in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and will provide housing and meals for relief workers. The duration of the charter is from October 15, 2017 to February 3, 2018.

As a result, Carnival has cancelled cruises that were scheduled to operate on Carnival Fascination which is normally homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Guests on cancelled voyages will receive a full refund along with a future cruise discount for the disruption in their vacation plans.

Carnival Cruise Line’s history is deeply linked to the Caribbean and our ships have been sailing within the region for more than 45 years. We are pleased to be partnering with FEMA on this charter in support of the ongoing relief efforts in the Caribbean. Likewise, we sincerely apologize to our guests who were booked on impacted cruises over the next few months. We know this change in plans is going to cause some disappointment and inconvenience and we thank them for their understanding.

Refunds will be automatically processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. We have reached out to our airline partners to request their cooperation in waiving change fees and will also be working with our guests on non-refundable airline change fees. Carnival Fascination will return to normal cruise service sailing year-round from San Juan to the Southern Caribbean on February 18, 2018 following a drydock in the Grand Bahama shipyard where she will receive a number of new features including Guy’s Burger joint and Blue Iguana Cantina among other highlights.

Royal Caribbean Sets Return To St. Thomas
A sweet reunion is in sight; Royal Caribbean International has set the date for its much-awaited return to St. Thomas since the Caribbean destination was impacted by the hurricanes last month. On Nov. 10, the cruise line will make its way to St. Thomas for the first time since early September with Adventure of the Seas.

In partnership with the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Royal Caribbean also has committed to undertaking the complete restoration of Magens Bay, one of St. Thomas' most popular tourist attractions – with plans for a grand re-opening of the pristine destination during Adventure of the Seas' visit on Nov. 10. With power and water to the island fully restored and most downtown shops, restaurants and bars and tour operators fully operational, guests will be able to experience a diverse and extensive array of dining, shopping and activities. Guests can enjoy boat and catamaran excursions to explore the turquoise blue waters and abundant sea life of the Caribbean and soak in the sun at some of the region's best beach destinations: Secret Sands Beach, Secret Harbor Beach Club, Lindquist Beach, Abi Beach and Honeymoon Beach on Water Island.

"We are very excited to get back home to our friends in St. Thomas. The Caribbean is our family, having cruised there for nearly 50 years, and the long-standing relationships created in all this time are unwavering," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We are committed to doing everything we can to help and proud to support the restoration of the iconic Magens Bay."

In addition to returning to St. Thomas on Nov. 10, Royal Caribbean has committed to returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten by the end of November and is working closely with local governments to announce the exact dates.

By December 1, all scheduled calls to the three islands will operate as planned – including calls from the world's largest cruise ships each sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.

MSC Announces New Features for China-Bound Splendida
When the MSC Splendida arrives in China next May, it will bring with it a number of fresh, new features for the Chinese cruise market following a November refurbishment. The Lirica, which is currently based in China, will move back to Europe next April as MSC, like many other lines, makes capacity adjustments in China.

Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises, said: "We have always considered China as a key part of our global strategy. We are excited to see that after 10 years of growth, the Chinese cruise market has entered an era in which cruisers seek nothing but high-quality holiday time, a brand new era that requires a brand new style. MSC Splendida’s deployment to China represents the second step we take to better serve this market. It is also a further testimony of our long-term commitment to establishing a strong presence in this key market. In fact, since she came into service, she has been the most popular ship for our Chinese guests cruising the Mediterranean area. This is the reason why we decided to deploy her here in China: we know that Chinese guests love her, so we bring her to their home."

Aboard the Splendida, MSC will add a new signature restaurant curated by famous chef Jereme Leung. The company announced the news on Wednesday at an event in Shanghai.

"It has been my long-held dream to open a restaurant on a cruise ship. MSC Cruises’ passion for the sea, pursuit of craftsmanship, attention to detail and quality and innovative spirit are well matched with my passion for cuisine. It’s a privilege to renew my partnership with MSC Cruises on the MSC Splendida. With our joint efforts, I’m confident that this restaurant will offer a culinary experience comparable to that of any high-end restaurant I have opened onshore," said Leung.

MSC is also developing a customized “MSC for Me” program for the Chinese market in collaboration with Deloitte, to suit the likes of the new age Chinese customers.

MSC also announced a new China ambassador as well: Liu Ye, a Chinese actor, and his wife Anais Martane.

Among the big news is a new artificial intelligence translation installation across the ship, which will utlize the WiFi network to help guests and crew communicate. The system has been developed in conjunction with Baidu, a leading Chinese search engine, and Tuge, a technology outfit.

"Traditional translation devices require the user to input their choice of language, but this new system will automatically identify the languages spoken and to be translated. We hope it will allow guests to interact seamlessly with the multi-national crew onboard," said Heng Zhang, founder and CEO of Tuge

"MSC is the first cruise in the world to have an artificial intelligence translation system aboard. And we are still researching how to use it optimally for our Chinese guests onboard MSC Splendida next year," said Helen Huang, president of Greater China for MSC.

MSC Splendida will depart from Dubai in March 2018 and travel along the silk road maritime route to arrive in Shanghai next May.

Celebrity Announces 2019 European Itineraries
From Athens to Barcelona to Reykjavik, Celebrity Cruises has all of Europe covered with the brand’s award-winning fleet that delivers unrivaled modern luxury vacations. In 2019, Celebrity will have five stunning ships, including the newest, Celebrity Edge, sailing in the region.

With stops in 27 different countries, overnight stays in 16 cities, and visits to more than 90 ports of call – including three brand new Celebrity-first ports of call: Nauplion, Greece; Rijeka, Croatia; and Santa Margherita, Italy – there’s no better way to experience Europe than with Celebrity.

“From our expansive new itineraries, including three exciting new ports of call and overnights in 16 cities across the region, to our specially curated shore excursions, there’s a reason we’re continually recognized as the ‘Best Cruise Line In Europe[1]’,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises.

As revealed today by Lutoff-Perlo at an exclusive event in London’s Somerset House, Celebrity Edge will be transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019. The itineraries will also feature two of the new ports of call: Nauplion, Greece – a charming coastal town with a Greek island-feel – and Santa Margherita, Italy – a picturesque seaside town near Portofino.

With its revolutionary, outward-facing design – highlighted by signature features such as the Magic Carpet and the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda – Europe has never seen a ship like Celebrity Edge before, and guests will have never seen Europe like they will on Celebrity Edge.

In addition to Celebrity Edge, the modern luxury brand will also occupy the region with four more award-winning vessels, including Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Reflection, and Celebrity Silhouette. There really is no better way to experience Europe than with Celebrity.

In 2019, Celebrity Infinity will return to Europe for the first time since 2014, offering seven- to 12-night itineraries with visits to some of the most popular countries in the region, including Italy, Malta, Greece, and Croatia.

With alternating seven-night sailings from Venice to Rome and Rome to Venice, Celebrity Infinity offers travelers the flexibility to create even more immersive vacations by booking back-to-back itineraries for a 14-night tour of the Mediterranean. These combined sailings have no repeat stops along the way and include an exciting overnight stay in the gorgeous city of Venice.

Celebrity Constellation will also be returning to Europe in 2019 with exciting new itineraries, including visits to a brand-new port of call, Rijeka, Croatia. Modern luxury explorers will be able to choose from a variety of nine- and 10-night itineraries sailing from Venice, Barcelona, and Rome; Celebrity Constellation will immerse guests along the Dalmatian Coast, the French Riviera, Italy, Spain, and the sun-soaked Greek Isles. The alternating sailings offers guests the opportunity to book nine- and 10-night itineraries back-to-back, creating unbelievable journeys across Europe.

For the 2019 season, Celebrity Reflection will call Dublin and Amsterdam home and offer a wide range of itineraries for unparalleled European vacations, with eight- to 12-night sailings across northern Europe, from the British Isles to Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland.

Travelers will visit iconic ports of call across the region, including Reykjavik, Iceland; Lerwick, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; the Norwegian Fjords; St. Petersburg, Russia; and many more, including overnight stays in Dublin.

Celebrity Silhouette returns to Southampton in 2019 to offer a variety of three- to 14-night sailings to some of the most iconic destinations in Europe, including Scandinavia to Russia, the Norwegian Fjords, Ireland, and Iceland. Guests will enjoy overnight stays in St. Petersburg, Russia, where they can enjoy everything from the Russian Ballet to visits to the Hermitage and the famous palaces of the Russian nobility.

Other exciting cities along Celebrity Silhouette’s Scandinavian season include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Tallinn. The ship will also venture to Ireland and Iceland for adventurous 12- and 14-night sailings.

Princess Cruises Announces Third Annual Culinary Cruise Series
Princess Cruises has officially announced its third annual Culinary Cruise Series, featuring famed Miami-based chefs Brad Kilgore and Scott Linquist. Sailing on Regal Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. from February 11 – 18, 2018 to the Western Caribbean, these two chefs will team up to offer guests a variety of curated culinary experiences and demonstrations for travelers looking for an exclusive foodie experience.

This seven-day, four-port Western Caribbean cruise will include a selection of daily activities and adventures for cruisers to participate in with the acclaimed chefs. Guests will be able to participate in chef-led cooking demonstrations, cookbook signings, Q+A sessions, experience special menus featured throughout the ship's restaurant and bars, and learn valuable cuisine skills to bring home with them.

Guests will also be able to explore parts of the Caribbean and Mexico alongside these chefs as each lead a customized excursion. Noted for his Mexican cuisine, Chef Linquist will lead the Cozumel excursion in Mexico, while Chef Kilgore will lead the Jamaican excursion. Other port stops include Princess Cays Bahamas and Grand Cayman.

"Dining onboard a Princess cruise ship is a culinary journey from the food made from scratch to the award-winning chef partnerships we have on board," said Gordon Ho, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Princess Cruises. "For this unique cruise experience, Chef Kilgore and Chef Linquist will bring their food experience —both in and out of the kitchen—to excite and educate our guests."

Named Food & Wine's 2016 Best New Chef, Brad Kilgore launched onto Miami's culinary scene in 2015 with the opening of Alter in Miami's hottest new neighborhood – Wynwood. After winning countless awards with Alter including Restaurant of the Year by Eater, he set his sights on Downtown Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center and opened BRAVA by Brad Kilgore inside the famed cultural institution. Showing no signs of slowing down, Kilgore plans to debut two new restaurants in Miami in the next coming year. Bringing his progressive American cuisine to Regal Princess, Kilgore will showcase some of his favorites including Short Rib Wellington with Truffled Mushrooms and Free-Range Chicken, with Popcorn Hollandaise.

"What an opportunity to showcase my dishes to the guests of Regal Princess," exclaimed Chef Brad Kilgore. "The setting provides an opportunity to share my experience, my style of cooking, and my passion for food in a very intimate way."

Joining Chef Brad Kilgore will be fellow Miami-based Chef Scott Linquist. Linquist, founder of the wildly successful Coyo Taco located in Miami's buzzing Brickell Financial District, as well as famed Wynwood arts district, will bring his upscale Mexican flair to the seven-day excursion featuring some of his most unique taco creations such as Coyo's charred octopus tacos with salsa veracruzana and pickled jalapeños. Chef Linquist plans to expand the success of Coyo Taco with new locations coming in Miami Beach, West Palm Beach and Panama.

"I am proud to represent the expanding Miami food scene to the Princess Cruises guest," said Chef Scott Linquist. "I love cooking, teaching and interacting with passionate food lovers."

Adding a touch of sweetness to this cruise will be one of Princess Cruises culinary partners, Norman Love, owner of Norman Love Confections, based in Fort Myers, FL. Trained in France, and named the Inaugural Inductee into the Chocolatier Hall of Fame by Dessert Professional Magazine, Love's creations blend premium quality chocolate, unique flavors and artful designs that are perfect for chocolate lovers. Love will be leading several cooking demonstrations and curate chocolate tastings.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.24 + 2.69%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 127.39 + 2.30%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.08 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 58.92 + 0.05

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Holland America's Rotterdam of 1959 (now a museum ship/hotel in Rotterdam) had a unique central staircase that allowed first class and tourist class passengers to use the the stairs at the same time without ever meeting each other. How was this feat accomplished and what was the inspiration for this design feature?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
October 25, 1986 was the end of an era for Cunard Line. What was the significance of that date?

Answer - October 25, 1986 was the last day that the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth 2, known affectionately as the QE2, operated as a steamship. During a 6 month long refit she was re-engined as a diesel-electric liner capable of attaining a speed of 32 knots. In reverse she could attain 19 knots faster than most liners could go forward at that time. I know for a fact having been on board her first Caribbean cruise after the refit she did attain 32 knots sailing from St. Lucia to St. Thomas having left St. Lucia several hours late.
courtesy of Larry P. Macdonald, Belmont, MA USA.


Cruise News - October 9, 2017

Royal Caribbean Reveals New Features Of The World's Largest Cruise Ship, Symphony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International has orchestrated a new vacation experience that is set to redefine family and adventure travel in 2018. Symphony of the Seas, the cruise line's newest ship, brings together the award-winning and acclaimed features only found on Royal Caribbean, with distinct new experiences that will continue to inspire adventure among guests of all ages. New dining concepts and family activities, awe-inspiring theater, aerial, ice and aqua entertainment, and the most dynamic suite in family travel will join the lineup of Royal Caribbean exclusives – such as the robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar, powered by Makr Shakr; the iconic AquaTheater showcasing unrivaled high-flying, high-diving performances; and the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea – for a thrilling crescendo of diverse experiences, all set in the unique seven-neighborhood concept of the award-winning Oasis-class ships.

Symphony of the Seas will claim the title of the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in April 2018 for her inaugural season in Europe. The architectural marvel will accommodate more balcony staterooms overlooking the open ocean and legendary Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods than her popular sister ship Harmony of the Seas. But there is much more to this ship than her impressive size.

"We're excited to introduce Symphony of the Seas, our boldest composition yet, offering the best of Royal Caribbean with some new surprises for our guests to create a vacation that adventurers of all ages can enjoy together," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We set out to create a new level of vacation adventure and deliver the ultimate escape for families of all shapes and sizes. Symphony will introduce the most cutting-edge, customizable, and digitally-enhanced experiences in the Royal Caribbean fleet."

Boardwalk Reimagined - Symphony of the Seas will introduce the new generation of Royal Caribbean's famed Boardwalk neighborhood, infused with new energy, interactive experiences and lively venues conceptualized for endless entertainment for all ages. Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will be the place to watch the "big game" from around the world across 30 big-screen TVs, ensuring everyone has the best seat in the house to cheer on their favorite team.

Spanning the length of the Boardwalk, the vibrant sports bar and arcade will be a hot spot for families to enjoy wings, burgers and craft beer on draft, as well as friendly competitions of Ms. Pacman, Star Wars Battle Pod, Ice Skee-ball and other popular games. Across the way, aptly adjacent to the Boardwalk's iconic hand-carved carousel, Sugar Beach candy and ice-cream shop will bring a sugar high of sweet treats to adults and kids alike, enticing them with colorful candy-packed walls and tempting ice cream and toppings galore. The sweetest spot on the high seas also will feature family-friendly activities for aspirational bakers.

The highly anticipated additions to the Boardwalk will round out the signature offerings that propelled the neighborhood's popularity. The Ultimate Abyss will catapult only the brave from the tallest slide at sea into the heart of the Boardwalk to revel in their adrenaline rush. Johnny Rockets is where indulgences of burgers, fries and milkshakes will be celebrated with 1950s diner music and entertainment. The awe-inspiring AquaTheater will activate the ocean backdrop and starry nights with a breathtaking show of aquatic acrobatics and stunning high-diving aerial performances found only on Symphony of the Seas.

The Ultimate Family Suite - Symphony will introduce the world's most adventurous and interactive family suite. The next generation of family accommodations, the two-level Ultimate Family Suite is a dream come true for kids of all ages and will debut eye-popping features, including: an exclusive slide from the kid's only bedroom to the living room below; a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table and hidden nooks for chilling.

A separate 3D movie theater-style TV room, complete with a popcorn machine and a library of video games across multiple gaming systems will bring a new level of euphoria and competition to gamers in every family. And that's just the inside; the 212-square-foot wraparound balcony touts a bumper pool table, a climbing experience and a full-size whirlpool that will provide unmatched ocean views. The Ultimate Family Suite spans 1,346 square feet, accommodating a family of up to eight in two bedrooms, and uses every inch of space to activate the imagination and provide the most brag-worthy accommodations imaginable. And if that wasn't enough, guests in the Ultimate Family Suite will have their own personal Royal Genie to take care of their every need while they enjoy all the services and premium amenities of the Royal Suite Class. This ultimate expression of family vacation indulgence joins the wide variety of contemporary suite accommodations available throughout the ship, from the Loft Suites with their breathtaking views to the spacious multi-room Owner's Suites.

All New Culinary Creations - Symphony will debut new food and beverage concepts adding to an already diverse lineup of more than 20 specialty and complimentary restaurants across the ship's seven neighborhoods. Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean's first New England-style seafood restaurant, will feature fresh seafood and a robust raw bar complete with oysters shucked to order. Located at the front of the ship in the Solarium, the casually sophisticated restaurant will offer expansive views of the open water, serving lunch and dinner. El Loco Fresh will offer mouthwatering made-to-order tacos, burritos and other popular Mexican fare. The open-air restaurant in the Sports Zone will seat more than 100 guests.

The cruise line's signature culinary favorites, including Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park with its American seasonal menu, Park Café and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, also will introduce refreshed designs and new menu specialties on Symphony, offering guests the widest choice and variety of dining options.

Entertainment Elevated - Royal Caribbean's unparalleled entertainment will once again raise the bar, touting immersive shows where theater magic extends beyond the stage and into the audience. Back by popular demand, the hugely successful "Hairspray" – the brand's first Broadway musical at sea – will return on Symphony with a total refresh to headline the Royal Theater along with a new original Royal Caribbean show, "Flight," a historical satire on the evolution of air travel that ends with homage to the famed Wright Brothers. In the iconic AquaTheater open-air amphitheater, a new aqua show, "HiRo," offers serious wow factor with high-diving and acrobatics. Studio B will showcase a new time-travel adventure. A high-tech ice-skating show,"1977" will bring guests to London on the eve of the Queen's Silver Jubilee when her Crown Jewels are stolen in the heist of the century.

For thrilling live-action adventure at sea, guests can gear up for an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience like no other. State-of-the-art technology and special effects will transform Studio B into the world's largest and ultimate laser tag arena as family, friends and foes battle over the fate of the last planet in the galaxy. Vacationers looking for a challenge can experience a new Puzzle Break experience on Symphony, where teams will race against the clock and learn to work together toward a common goal – to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

All New Mobile Check-in Debuts on Symphony - The latest technological innovations will be integrated throughout Symphony, including a redesigned check-in experience that eliminates lines and bypasses the counter. The new process will leverage a combination of facial recognition, bar codes and beacons to make boarding fast and frictionless.

Guests will check-in via the brand's new mobile app and seamlessly upload their security "selfie" to create their onboard account from the comfort of their home. Upon arrival, guests will go through a security screening and then head straight to their stateroom, where their key will be ready and waiting. In addition to mobile check-in, Symphony will feature all of the pioneering and award-winning guest technology the cruise line is known for, including VOOM – the fastest internet at sea, state-of-the-art wayfinding and virtual balconies.

Seven Neighborhoods in Perfect Sync - One ship, seven distinctive neighborhoods for families to explore together or individually, Symphony is the ultimate playground for guests of all ages, with new surprises at every turn.

• Boardwalk – Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and the Sugar Beach candy and ice-cream shop bring a new spin to this outdoor space inspired by the nostalgic seaside piers of yesteryear. The Boardwalk, with its original hand-carved carousel, will offer classic family fun combined with a high-energy vibe felt throughout its casual eateries, retail shops and activities for a day of family fun. The signature AquaTheater, located at the stern of the ship with a distinct ocean backdrop, is a dazzling amphitheater-style venue where guests can experience stunning aquatic acrobatics and high-diving aerial performances.

• Central Park – With more than 12,000 lush tropical plants, this open-air neighborhood is a serene retreat that features meandering walkways with quiet nooks for reading and relaxing, retail boutiques and specialty restaurants including Chops Grille, Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park and Vintages wine bar. The expanded Park Café, with its communal table and additional outdoor bistro seating overlooking a central piazza, is the perfect spot for meeting friends and people watching.

• Entertainment Place – A contemporary night club district, where more intimate venues cater to different moods and preferences, is anchored by Casino Royale, which will take the title of the largest casino at sea, and Studio B, home to a full-scale ice rink and newly introduced glow-in-the-dark laser tag game. The Attic exudes the vibe of a downtown comedy club and transforms into a lounge for late-night drinks and dancing, while Jazz on 4 features live jazz and blues performances with the convenience of table service for couples and groups.

• Pool and Sports Zone – Home to the ship's most active adventures, including the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea, The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, two FlowRider surf simulators, a mini-golf course, a nine-deck-high zip line, and the beach pool, plus the all new El Loco Fresh restaurant.

• Royal Promenade – Dining, bar-hopping and shopping abound on this bustling main street at sea. The Promenade features a café, the industry-changing robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar, powered by Makr Shakr, and the Rising Tide Bar that transports guests up to Central Park.

• Youth Zone – From adventurous tots to teens, young travelers can dive into the widest array of youth facilities and innovative programming at sea, including a yet-to-be-revealed new Puzzle Break challenge where teams will race against the clock to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

• Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center – Chill out or work out at the largest spa and fitness center on the high seas.

Celebrity Cruises to Offer Legal Same-Sex Marriages Onboard
Today, Celebrity Cruises announced that same-sex marriages performed onboard are now legally recognized, marking a historic first for the modern luxury brand.

The motion follows a transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet is registered, which passed the country's parliament 66-1. The long-awaited referendum opens the door for Celebrity to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard, and have the fleet's captains officiate the ceremonies.

"Celebrity Cruises has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and I cannot think of a more important time in our history than right now to do all we can to support inclusion. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that starting today, we welcome same-sex couples to marry on our ships while in international waters," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "This is one for the history books!"

"Celebrity Weddings has already hosted many same-sex weddings in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, where legal," said Barbara Whitehall, Managing Director, The Wedding Experience. "We are ecstatic that this new Malta ruling opens up marriage equality for anyone and everyone sailing with Celebrity Cruises while in international waters."

The Celebrity Weddings program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings for lovebirds. The Nautical Nuptials at Sea package includes a Captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator's services, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, bottle of Champagne, a bouquet and boutonniere, plus additional romantic turndown amenities post-ceremony.

Viking Names Godmother to Viking Orion
Viking today announced that American chemist, emergency room physician and recently retired NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher will be honored as godmother to its fifth ocean ship, which will debut in July 2018. The new ship has been named Viking Orion after the prominent constellation and in honor of Dr. Fisher's contributions to NASA's Orion exploration vehicle project. The announcement was first made by Viking Chairman, Torstein Hagen, during a press conference in New York City celebrating the first call in Manhattan for the company's third ship, Viking Sky

The 930-guest Viking Orion reached a major construction milestone last week, when the ship met water for the first time during her "float out" ceremony at Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard. Dr. Fisher attended the September 28 ceremony and assisted with several maritime traditions. Viking Orion will spend her maiden year sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean, before making her way to Asia, Australia and then Alaska.

"Vikings were the original long-distance explorers and the first to use the stars and constellations as a way to navigate uncharted territory," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "The spirit of exploration is at the heart of everything we do, and so I am especially proud that an astronaut will be honored as godmother to our new ship. Dr. Fisher is a past Viking guest, a fellow scientist and a true explorer. As one of the first women in space, she has inspired generations of curious minds, and I look forward to welcoming guests onboard Viking Orion to learn more about her impressive career in space exploration."

"The idea of exploring new territories has always appealed to me, whether through science or by traveling the world. I was 12 years old when I heard Alan Shepard's voice on the radio during his sub orbital flight, and at that moment, I knew that I also wanted to explore beyond earth's atmosphere. I knew from that young age that I wanted to be an astronaut," said Dr. Fisher. "I always wanted to be an explorer and I am proud and honored to be godmother to Viking Orion – a ship that was designed to help her guests see more of the world."

A float out ceremony is significant because it denotes the first time a ship touches water and moves into its final stage of construction. Viking Orion's float out began at approximately 11:00 a.m. local time, and in keeping with maritime tradition, Dr. Fisher, as godmother to the ship, assisted with the ceremony, first "mast stepping," by welding coins under the ship mast. The commemorative coins she welded represented her birth year, as well as the birth year of Chairman Hagen. Two special coins were also welded to represent members of the Hagen family: 1911 to represent Ragnhild "Mamsen" Hagen, the mother of Chairman Hagen, and 2012 to represent Finse, the yellow Labrador of Karine Hagen, Viking's senior vice president and daughter of Torstein Hagen. Dr. Fisher then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that set Viking Orion afloat, the ship was then moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

Dr. Anna Fisher, Godmother of Viking Orion - Born in New York City and raised in Southern California, Dr. Fisher holds bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry, as well as a Doctor of Medicine degree, from the University of California, Los Angeles. Selected as an astronaut in January 1978, Dr. Fisher was one of the "original six" women accepted into NASA's Astronaut Training Program. Dr. Fisher became the first mother in space when she served as a mission specialist on STS-51A aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, which launched on November 8, 1984. During her NASA career, which spanned more than three decades, Dr. Fisher contributed to three major initiatives: the Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station and Orion, NASA's new crew-rated exploration spacecraft. Prior to her retirement in April 2017, Dr. Fisher was also the oldest active American astronaut. In celebration of her retirement, Dr. Fisher sailed on Viking's Rhine Getaway itinerary in July 2017.

Viking Orion - Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 cabins and accommodate 930 guests. Viking Orion, formerly known as Viking Spirit, is the fifth of eight ocean cruise ships currently planned for the fleet. By 2019 Viking will welcome its sixth ship and will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Viking's ocean fleet features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.

• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.

• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea.

• Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating "the thinking person's cruise." Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking's Culture Curriculum including: world-class lectures on history and art; personalized opportunities for learning with the Viking Resident Historian program; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties. Onboard Viking Orion, guests will also enjoy lectures on astronomy and space exploration.

• Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

Majestic Princess’ to Offer New Departures from Taiwan and Australia
Starting late February 2018, Princess Cruises' newest and most luxurious cruise ship, Majestic Princess, will take guests from close-to-home departure ports in Asia to experience destinations in the region and Australasia.

The third ship in the Royal class of ships, the 3,560-guest Majestic Princess was launched in March 2017. It is tailored specifically for the Asian market, representing the newest and largest ships in the Princess Cruises fleet. The fourth Royal-class ship is scheduled for delivery in 2019.

Due to the popularity of Majestic Princess' Asian features, the ship will be on homeporting in Taiwan with sailings to Japan from April to July 2018, after which she will be deployed in Australia from September 2018 through March 2019.

"Guests will no longer need to travel to Europe or the Americas to experience cruises on a Royal-Class ship offering luxurious accommodation and world-class facilities. Taiwan, Japan and Australasia are very popular cruise destinations amongst guests in this region as these ports are closer to home and easy to reach. As such, these new itineraries are expected to be very well-received," said Mr. Farriek Tawfik, Director Southeast Asia, Princess Cruises.

On 25 February 2018, Majestic Princess will embark on a 14-day Grand Asia voyages sailing between Shanghai and Singapore, visiting Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand along the way, including late night calls in Hong Kong. The return voyage to Shanghai will depart Singapore on 11 March, 2018.

From April to July 2018, Majestic Princess will be homeporting in Keelung (Taipei) offering 3- to 4-day sailings to Okinawa and Ishigaki, and 5- to 7-day voyages calling at an array of ports in Japan such as Kagoshima, Ishigaki, Kochi, Hiroshima and Miyazaki.

The highlight of this Taipei season will be two special 6 to 7-night Majestic Spring Flowers' sailings from Taipei to Nagasaki, Sakaiminato, Busan, Kagoshima, Tokushima, Osaka and Miyazaki.

On 24 August 2018, Majestic Princess will sail on a 20-day Asia and Australia voyage from Shanghai and call into ports in South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Darwin, and Brisbane, and guests can also opt to sail into Sydney.

From September 2018 until March 2019, Majestic Princess will homeport in Sydney and offer 6 to 13-day itineraries, calling into ports at destinations around Australia as well as New Zealand, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific. Some of the highlights are the Fiordland National Park Scenic Cruising and the various ports in Tasmania.

Majestic Princess boasts the largest duty free shopping onboard any cruise ship, with nearly 1,100 square meters of luxury boutiques. In addition to Harmony Restaurant and La Mer French bistro offering menus created by Michelin star-awarded chefs, casual eateries including Chopsticks Noodle Bar and Lobster & Dim Sum bar; karaoke suites; the glass-domed Hollywood Pool Club which turns into a nightclub at night; ballroom dancing classes and other facilities catering to Asian guests.

The SeaWalk, a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway onboard Majestic Princess, is also the first of its kind at sea, exclusively on Royal class ships. At 18m long, cantilevered 39m above the waves and extending 8.5m beyond the edge of the ship, it boasts thrilling views of the seascape.

Guy Fieri's 'Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse' To Debut Aboard New Carnival Horizon
Guy Fieri – a member of the American Royal National Barbecue Hall of Fame whose namesake burger joints are featured on 19 Carnival Cruise Line ships – will introduce a brand new full-service barbecue venue aboard Carnival Horizon when it debuts in spring 2018. An expansion of Fieri's casual barbecue eateries on several Carnival ships, Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse combines the best of both worlds: authentic, down-home smoked-on-board barbecue and traditional sides created by the renowned chef, along with a selection of distinctive craft beers brewed on board at a brewery located within the restaurant.

The announcement will be made by Fieri at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas during the "Carnival's BBQ Challenge with Guy Fieri" event during which kids from the local 4H Club were tasked to come up with unique barbecue recipes inspired by Pig & Anchor. The three finalists will each receive a free cruise and Carnival is making a $20,000 donation to the 4H Club of Texas in support of its mission of engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.

Diners are encouraged to have lots of napkins ready as they enjoy Guy's Smokehouse favorites such as brisket custom-smoked for 12 hours, Memphis-style baby back ribs, dry-rubbed and grill-finished chicken, pulled pork, and cedar-smoked salmon with an apricot glaze, all cooked "low and slow" using Fieri's signature rubs and spices. All Smoke House items are served with coleslaw, sweet pickles, and golden honey cornbread or Texas toast.

The restaurant will also offer Fieri's signature dishes like Dragon Chili Cheese Fries featuring smoked beef brisket, cheddar cheese, onions and jalapenos; Trash Can Nachos topped with pulled pork, Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ sauce and melted cheese; and The Smokehouse Melt, with pulled pork, sliced brisket, double smoked pork belly bacon, two slices of cheddar cheese, homemade pickles and donkey sauce.

Side dishes are just as tantalizing with Fieri-created favorites like the Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese, Beer-Braised Cowboy Pinto Beans, Sweet Potato Bourbon Mash, Mashed Potatoes with Red Eye Gravy and Burnt Ends, and Buttermilk Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Almonds.

BBQ fans can spice up their dishes with the chef's own sauces, including Kansas City (smoky and sweet), Sriracha BBQ (spicy and tangy), Carolina #6 (tangy and sweet heat) and award-winning Bourbon Brown Sugar (sweet and sticky), along with exclusive-to-Carnival sauces like Smokey Chipotle, Gold Coast Yellow Mustard, Black Pepper, and Burning Tomato.

Paired perfectly with barbecue is a delicious and refreshing craft beer created by Carnival's award-winning beverage team which includes Colin Presby, the only brew master in the North American cruise industry. Presby and team are developing four distinctive micro-brews specifically designed to pair with the venue's wide-ranging menu. Specific details will be announced at a later date.

Decadent desserts like freshly baked cobbler, piled-high banana cream pie and gooey pecan pie offer a sweet conclusion to a satisfying and memorable meal.

"I'm excited about launching my newest shipboard eatery at Carnival," said Fieri. "I know what it takes to make real-deal barbecue – quality meats smoked 'low and slow' and top-notch sides using the freshest ingredients. And when you combine down-home barbecue with a cold beer brewed right on board, you have a truly outta bounds experience!"

Added Carnival's Director of Specialty Dining Greg Poplewko, "Guy has been a great partner for the past six years and his new Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse aboard the new Carnival Horizon is the perfect expansion of our partnership, offering lip-smacking barbecue and refreshing craft beers enjoyed in a fun and festive atmosphere."

The new 138-seat BBQ venue will be located along the ship's Promenade with indoor and outdoor seating and authentic touches like ceiling tiles made of weathered galvanized siding, red brick walls, hardwood floors and booth and high-top seating with Fieri's signature FLAVORTOWN catch phrase illuminating the full-service bar.

The restaurant will be open from 5 pm 'til late every night of the cruise with menu items offered on an a la carte basis and live music nightly. Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse will offer a free-of-charge self-service BBQ lunch buffet from noon to 2:30 p.m. on embarkation day and sea days.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse will be among the dozens of different dining and beverage venues available aboard Carnival Horizon. These include the line's first teppanyaki restaurant, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic tacos and burritos, the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, and the New England-inspired Seafood Shack.

Other features include the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, and the first Dr. Seuss-themed water park at sea

A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.45 + 3.14%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 124.53 + 4.54%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.08 + 3.48%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 58.89 + 8.21

Cruise News Trivia Question:
October 25, 1986 was the end of an era for Cunard Line. What was the significance of that date?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise line used the comedian Victor Borge as their spokesperson?

Answer - Norwegian Caribbean Cruise Line used the comedian Victor Borge as their spokesperson in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
courtesy of P. Lindgren, New York, NY.


Cruise News - October 2, 2017

Carnival Elation Undergoing Extensive Renovation
Carnival Elation is in the final stages of a multi-million-dollar makeover that includes the addition of an expansive new WaterWorks park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and a variety exciting food and beverage concepts.

Following the extensive renovation, Carnival Elation will resume its year-round schedule of four- to eight-day cruises from Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 7. The ship's new features include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Camp Ocean: a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through fun and engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities, including arts and crafts, science-oriented programming, and more.

• New Cabins, Stateroom Enhancements: Thirty-eight cabins have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic ocean view cabins and 12 interior accommodations. Additionally, private verandahs have been added to 98 existing staterooms, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms will offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by Carnival Elation's tropical itineraries.

• WaterWorks: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids.

• Mini-Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

Carnival is Jacksonville's only year-round cruise ship offering four- and five-day cruises to The Bahamas featuring stops at Freeport, Nassau and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays. Carnival Elation will also offer a special six-day Bahamas cruise and an eight-day Bermuda voyage in April 2018 as well as a one-time seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise the following month.

Norwegian Breakaway to Homeport in New Orleans for Winter 2018/19 Season
Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from the Big Apple to the Big Easy for her winter 2018/19 season and cruise to the Caribbean, visiting ports of call including Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and the beautiful island destination of Harvest Caye, Belize. Harvest Caye offers a diverse, enriching experience highlighting the natural beauty and culture of Belize along with lush native landscaping, a swim up pool bar, luxury beach villas, private pool cabanas, thrilling aerial activities and water sports. The destination also features first ever pier in Belize that allows guests to walk straight off the ship and into paradise. Norwegian Gem, a fan favorite Jewel-class ship, will now sail from New York City for the winter 2018/19 season.

“Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest and newest ship from Norwegian to sail from New Orleans, and we are thrilled to bring our signature Breakaway-class ship to this important homeport,” said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We want to provide more opportunities for our guests across the country to explore beautiful destinations and enjoy all the spectacular features of our newest ships, along with the freedom and flexibility that only a Norwegian cruise can offer.”

With the overwhelming positive response to Norwegian Bliss’ deployment to the West Coast next year, Norwegian is providing guests another new departure port for guests to experience Norwegian’s signature cruise vacation. By repositioning the 145,655 gross ton Norwegian Breakaway to New Orleans, Norwegian is offering a more convenient departure port along with a newer and larger ship for cruisers sailing from the Crescent City to explore. Norwegian Breakaway will delight cruisers of all ages, as she features a wide variety of accommodations, from Studios for the solo cruiser to the exclusive, all-suite luxurious enclave, The Haven by Norwegian; more than 25 different dining venues; an exhilarating aqua park with five slides and a thrilling ropes course with zip lines and The Plank; signature Broadway entertainment including Rock of Ages and so much more. Norwegian Breakaway, which debuted in 2013, was the first ship in the line’s signature Breakaway class, and features The Waterfront, a quarter-mile promenade deck with waterfront dining, shopping and entertainment, along with 678 Ocean Place, a three-story complex at the heart of the ship where guests can enjoy nightlife, gaming and more. The ship will undergo a two-week dry dock next spring, and will receive a full refresh in public spaces, including new flooring, updated furniture, new décor and new carpeting in staterooms. Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her new homeport of New Orleans on November 11, 2018 and will sail a variety of cruises to the Caribbean through April 7, 2019.

“The Port of New Orleans values our close partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line and appreciates the addition of the Norwegian Breakaway to the cruise schedule next year. The passengers who begin and end their Norwegian Breakaway cruise from our historical city will experience Port NOLA’s commitment to high level service and the Crescent City’s vibrant energy,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans President and CEO. “Our cruise business contributes significantly to the hospitality industry’s regional economic impact and we are pleased to welcome the largest ship we have ever accommodated.”

The recently refurbished Norwegian Gem will remain in New York City and sail a series of cruises to the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Bahamas & Florida. She will share her Manhattan homeport with Norwegian Escape, which will reposition for summer 2018 for the first time since she was christened in 2015, sailing from New York City to Bermuda on seven-day cruises every Sunday beginning April 22, 2018. Norwegian Escape features entertainment from the Tony-award winning After Midnight and critically-acclaimed For the Record: The Brat Pack, along with a bevy of food and beverage concepts including the District Brewhouse featuring 25 beers on tap and including a selection of popular craft beers; the upscale food emporium, Food Republic; and The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine bar.

Guests currently booked onboard Norwegian Gem from New Orleans will have their reservations protected and will be automatically moved to the new vessel and itinerary. Norwegian Breakaway’s new Caribbean itineraries from New Orleans will open for sale on October 24.

RCI's Independence of the Seas Scheduled For Multi-million Dollar Makeover
Royal Caribbean International today announced new features that will make Independence of the Seas even more extraordinary than she already is when she sets sail in summer 2018 following a multi-million dollar makeover.

Independence will boast lots of new and exciting activities like the interactive aqua park Splashaway Bay, which will be bigger and better than ever before and feature waterslides, water cannons, fountains, pools and the child-favourite drench bucket.

Extending the speciality dining options onboard, Izumi, the exotic Asian-inspired dining experience, will be introduced to Independence, giving guests the chance to enjoy fresh sushi and experience skilled hibachi chefs cooking tableside on Teppanyaki grills.

Breathtakingly beautiful new lounges and Panoramic Ocean View staterooms will add an extra bit of extraordinary to Independence. With stunning wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling views, guests can soak up the feeling of standing on the bridge of the ship and watching the sunset over the coastline, all from the privacy of their own stateroom.

Sailing from Southampton after her incredible makeover in summer 2018, Independence will have an all-improved ice rink, as well as a revamped theatre ready to wow with the much-loved Broadway show, Grease.

This news follows the announcement that features including an escape room, a trampoline zone, and a laser tag arena, are confirmed as part of the makeover plans.

Koncept Stockholm to Design the Interiors of Viking Line's New Vessel
Viking Line has ordered a new passenger vessel with delivery expected in 2020. It has now been disclosed that the new vessel, which will sail from Turku (Finland) via Åland to Stockholm, will have interiors designed by the Swedish architecture firm Koncept Stockholm. Koncept Stockholm previously did the interiors for the Stockholm hotel Haymarket by Scandic.

Viking Line is pioneering environmental advances in the Baltic Sea. In 2013, the world's first large passenger vessel powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) made its debut, in the form of Viking Grace. Since then, the Company has been planning for the next vessel powered by natural gas, the objective being to further reduce its environmental impact on this sensitive body of water. Viking Line's new vessel will be delivered in 2020, and the task of designing the interiors has been awarded to the Swedish architecture firm Koncept Stockholm.

"The choice was between a number of highly respected architecture firms, and Koncept Stockholm stood out with its attractive combination of Scandinavian simplicity and playfulness. It is also important to Viking Line that the architects contribute to an appealing travel experience that works for cruise passengers, families with children, conference guests and the substantial cargo traffic between the two countries. This is a challenge that we foresee Koncept Stockholm handling with a sense of flair and great skill. We have also taken into consideration our international guests, who perhaps have never before experienced archipelago scenery like ours, by taking a further step in prioritising views of the sea and archipelagos," says Jan Hanses, president and chief executive officer of Viking Line.

The architecture firm Koncept Stockholm has a group of ten people already working full-speed to create the cruise experience of the future. This work is being led by Niclas Makowsky and Ann Marie Ekroth, who previously headed other interior design projects such as Haymarket and Grand Central by Scandic as well as Copperhill Mountain Lodge in the Swedish resort of Åre.

"We are very proud to be chosen as architects and are now taking all our experience from exciting, successful projects for hotels, bars, spas and shops across the Nordic countries with us on board this passenger vessel. We want to enhance the experience of travelling through some of the world's most beautiful archipelagos by offering a range of rich and varied experiences on board the vessel inspired by marine life and the Nordic world," says Niclas Makowsky, from Koncept Stockholm.

Viking Line's new vessel will be 218 metres in length with a gross registered tonnage of 63,000 tonnes and capacity for 2,800 passengers. The length of its cargo lanes will be 1,500 metres. The vessel is being built by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co., Ltd in China and is a collaborative project in which the plan is to engage a number of Finnish and other European contractors.

Carnival Corporation Will Deliver Best Wi-Fi in Cruise Industry
Carnival Corporation today announced MedallionNet, a game-changing connectivity service enabled by SES Networks that will deliver the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry. MedallionNet will provide guests with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.

The connectivity service – to be delivered in connection with SES Networks, a business unit of SES (PAR/LuxSE: SESG) – will collectively leverage the leading global satellite operator's geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations, managed services, antenna and shipboard technology to significantly enhance the guest experience by providing high-performance and reliable broadband connectivity at sea. This innovative service is enabled by hardware and software shipboard technology advances associated with Carnival Corporation's proprietary O·C·E·A·N Experience Platform.

"Staying connected is inextricably linked to our daily life experiences and that now extends to the vacation experience, even when sailing in the middle of the sea," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "MedallionNet will set the new standard for Wi-Fi service at sea and we look forward to rolling it out to our guests. Our top priority is doing everything we can to exceed guest expectations, and by listening closely to our guests, we know Wi-Fi connectivity is important to many of our guests. For guests who want to disconnect, they are free to do so. But for those who want to stay connected, MedallionNet will make it easy for them – and that includes being able to easily send photos, videos and messages letting everyone know they are having a fabulous vacation."

MedallionNet is another development to emerge from Carnival Corporation's Global Experience and Innovation Center located in Miami and is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated with a focus on exceeding guest expectations through "GuestCentricity™" – an initiative to enhance all aspects of the vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it.

"SES Networks is privileged to be associated with Carnival Corporation's Global Experience and Innovation team and to be powering MedallionNet," said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. "We share Carnival Corporation's passionate focus on connecting people, places and cultures around the world with amazing experiences. As the only company to offer a GEO and MEO constellation, unmatched in scale, performance and technological diversity, SES Networks is uniquely positioned to enable the highest performing Wi-Fi connectivity at sea as well as immersive media and gaming content."

MedallionNet leverages multi-band antennas uniquely configured in an innovative shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning, and it fuses multi-orbit satellite bandwidth to deliver a truly immersive guest connectivity experience.

By combining multiple sources of bandwidth to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship with an unprecedented volume of shipboard access points, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea.

More specifics about MedallionNet and specific cruise brand implementation will be announced later this year.

Carnival Corporation Announces Commitment to Responsible Chicken Sourcing
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced it will shift purchasing policies across its nine leading cruise line brands by 2024 to improve the welfare of sourced chicken, becoming one of the first companies in the travel industry to commit to adopting comprehensive broiler chicken welfare policies.

Working with animal protection organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Humane League, Carnival Corporation is committed to aligning welfare standards for broiler chicken, ensuring that 100 percent of chicken sourced will be certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP).

"Carnival Corporation and our brands recognize animal welfare is an important issue for our guests and the general public, as well as us, and by teaming up with leading organizations that have made this commitment to responsible sourcing, we are optimistic that this will help advance broader adoption of these conscientious practices," said Julia Brown, chief procurement officer for Carnival Corporation. "With this latest initiative, we will expand on our responsible sourcing efforts across the corporation by working closely with our suppliers to assure that the broiler chickens we purchase are treated humanely, under appropriate animal welfare standards."

By 2024, Carnival Corporation will require sourced chicken to be GAP-certified and produced under standards that require all chickens to be given more space and enhanced environments – including litter and lighting. Additionally, these new policies will ensure that Carnival Corporation's chicken suppliers process their products in a humane manner through a multi-step controlled-atmosphere system and demonstrate compliance with these standards.

"Carnival Corporation has continued to uphold their position as a leader in the industry on many fronts, including animal welfare," said Joyana Hunt, corporate policy specialist for HSUS. "We applaud the company's commitment to broiler chicken welfare."

This broiler chicken purchasing commitment is the latest stride in Carnival Corporation's continued dedication to addressing animal welfare in its supply chain. In 2015, working with the Humane Society of the United States, Carnival Corporation committed to switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs across all its brands by 2025.

Seabourn Expands Land-Based "Seabourn Journeys"
Seabourn announced this week that it is offering guests lasting memories in exotic locations through its expanded land-based excursion program, Seabourn Journeys . Offering a selection of pre- and post-cruise trip extensions through land-based immersive experiences in remarkable destinations, Seabourn Journeys are available in conjunction with select voyages in 2018 and 2019.

Guests will enjoy captivating experiences of local culture, history, beauty, hospitality and relaxation. The fully-escorted Journeys have been uniquely curated to showcase the very best of the destination they visit and include select meals, transportation, and guided experiences. Luxury hotels and lodges have been hand-selected to offer guests accommodations at the finest iconic properties in the best locations that showcase their indigenous surroundings – all conveniently timed to the start or finish of scheduled Seabourn cruises.

"We are delighted to offer opportunities to extend our on board luxury experience with these new on shore Seabourn Journeys," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Each Seabourn Journey is expertly curated with customized, guide-led tours of the most memorable sites and scenes around the world. They are perfect for luxury travelers desiring a complete and seamless land-and-sea experience."

All Seabourn Journeys are available pre- and post-cruise, with transfers to and from Seabourn ships and various destinations included. Departures on most Journeys are guaranteed with a minimum of two guests*. (*The Denali Experience and South Pole Quest require a minimum of 10 guests.)

The following are 10 Seabourn Journeys currently offered around the world:

• Splendours of Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu (8 day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) – Experience ancient and contemporary culture in the capital of Peru, the former capital of the Inca empire. Highlights include the Church of Santo Domingo and Lima's oldest mansion, 16th century Casa Aliaga; impressive displays of Inca masonry at the Convent of Santo Domingo and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, as well as the fortress of Ollantaytambo; and mountaintop Machu Picchu, in a class and an altitude by itself.

• Cambodia: Phnom Penh & Temples of Angkor (6 days) – Cambodia's ancient and modern history are on display in Phnom Penh including the Silver Pagoda of the Royal Palace, ancient Khmer art at the National Museum, and infamous Khmer Rouge sites. Explore the complex of Angkor Wat by helicopter and then on foot with a guided tour of the breathtaking ruins including Bayon Temple, fig tree-wrapped Ta Prohm Temple, and other captivating temples including Angkor Thom and Rolous Khmer.

• India's Golden Triangle: The Taj Mahal & Jaipur (6 days) – Tour Old Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque and Chandni Chowk in a cycle rickshaw. In New Delhi, it's the Parliament House, India Gate and more, with dining on heirloom recipes in the elegant residence of a local family. In Agra, marvel at sprawling Agra Fort and the marble mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, then proceed to the Pink City of Jaipur with sites including the ornate Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds". An elephant safari, the Amber Fort, and the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing round out a very full experience.

• Sydney, The Red Centre & Great Barrier Reef (8-day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) –Sydney welcomes with the historic Rocks precinct, the Botanical Garden, and a private tour of the Sydney Opera House. Fly to the Red Centre to tour the 500-mlllion-year-old red rock domes of Kata Tjuta, The Olgas, and catch the sunset over Uluru during the Sounds of Silence experience, which includes an unforgettable dining experience and introduction to Aboriginal culture and a traditional Anangu performance. Take time to explore Uluru by camel, then a sunrise helicopter tour before transferring to Cairns and Port Douglas for the UNESCO World Heritage Daintree National Park, with a cruise on the Daintree River, guided forest walk to the Botanical Ark, and more. Guests then can experience a full day of snorkeling underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef from a luxury catamaran.

• Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan's Temples & Inie Lake (8 day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) – Enjoy previously inaccessible Myanmar with access to timeless attractions and unforgettable experiences. In Yangon, visit 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, the 230-foot Reclining Buddha statue, and the magnificent carved Lion's Throne. In Bagan, float over thousands of stupas in a hot-air balloon and visit Shwezigon Pagoda, Kubyaukgyi Temple, Ananda Temple, and Htilominio Temple. At Inle Lake, a boat ride includes views of the gold-leaf Buddhas at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and Ngaphechaung Monastery perched on stilts over the lake.

• South Africa: Cape Town & Kruger Park Safari Lodge (7 day pre-cruise/6-day post-cruise) – Enjoy luxury and adventure in South Africa's scenic Cape followed by a multi-day safari experience amid one of Africa's densest concentrations of native wildlife. Pop a cork on Cape Town's oldest wine-producing region, Groot Constantia, and visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens under Table Mountain, then head for the top by cable car. See Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, with additional highlights including the Castle of Good Hope and Company Gardens. Then fly to Kruger National Park for a stay at spectacular Singita Lebombo Lodge overlooking the N'wanetsi River, with two game drives daily to see leopard, lion, white and black rhino, elephant, hippo, cheetah and more.

• UNESCO South America: Rio, Iguazú Falls & Buenos Aires (6 days) – Two of South America's most captivating cities bookend this journey to the UNESCO World Heritage natural wonder of Iguazu Falls. In Rio de Janeiro, pass lush Tijuca Rainforest Park crowned by the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Peak en route to famed Copacabana Beach. Absorb the earth-shaking roar of Iguazu Falls from a suspended walkway on the Brazilian side with a helicopter ride to dinner to follow. Finally, spend a day in Buenos Aires with Plaza de Mayo, San Telmo and colorful La Boca, and finish with a tango lesson at legendary Café de los Angelitos.

• UNESCO Treasures of China: Beijing, Xi'An & Hong Kong (6 days) – Immerse in the world's oldest civilization with exploration of the captivating contrasts of burgeoning Beijing, the Silk Road outpost of Xi'An, and the glittering melting pot of Hong Kong. Follow a welcome feast of Peking Duck with visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City in Beijing. Observe the dramatic Mutianyu section of the Great Wall by cable car and see highlights of the Beijing Olympic Village. In Xi'An, tour the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, the Chinese-style Great Mosque, and the ancient City Wall. Then enjoy Hong Kong with tours of a colorful market, the Man Ho Temple and Hollywood Road, as well as scenic views from the Peak Tram.

• The Denali Experience (5 days) – Take in the many natural splendors of Alaska at the highest mountain in North America with travels focused on the looming, snow-capped peak and its National Park. Fly over the Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier before heading deep into the Park with a guide to spot grizzly and black bears, wolves, moose, caribou and more. After a day at leisure in the Park with many options for activities, ride in a domed observation car on a scenic railway to enjoy celebratory hospitality in Anchorage, viewing unspoiled taiga forest and wild rivers all along the way. *This Journey requires a minimum of 10 guests per departure.

• South Pole Quest (13 days) – A true expedition awaits on the White Continent. From the Chilean capital of Santiago, fly to Punta Arena, staging location for the Antarctic portion of the adventure, then head by plane to Union Glacier Base Camp with a stay in comfortable camp facilities. Expedition guides share knowledge of life in an Antarctic climate and wildlife likely to be encountered. There will be opportunities to explore the glacier including Elephant's Head, Drake Icefall, Hidden Valley and the beach at Rossman Cove. Then board a ski-plane and head for the bottom of the world, with time at the South Pole before return to base camp and Punta Arenas. *This Journey requires a minimum of 10 guests per departure.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.43 + 1.46%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.12 + 4.60%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.01 - 1.47%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.42 + 1.53%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise line used the comedian Victor Borge as their spokesperson?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which two 1930's ocean liners had seaplanes mounted between their funnels for the purpose of delivering the mail via air thirty-six hours before the ships docked?

Answer - hese were the German NDL liners BREMEN and EUROPA. BREMEN burned in WWII and became a total loss, while EUROPA had an illustrious second career as the French LIBERTE.

The Germans also had two dedicated seaplane tenders to service these seaplanes. Those vessels were FRIESENLAND and SCHWABENLAND. While SCHWABENLAND was a conversion from a freighter, FRIESENLAND was custom-built and had a very interesting post-war career as SITMAR's passenger-cargo liner CASTEL NEVOSO. In fact she was a reefer-passenger liner! From 1952 to 1968, she sailed with bananas (and some passengers) between Italy and the former Italian colony of Somaliland (present-day Somalia). She was finally broken up at Faslane in 1969, after 32 years of service.
courtesy of Ralph Dazert


Cruise News - September 25, 2017

Cunard Adding A Fourth Ship To The Fleet
Carnival Corporation today announced that it has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build a new cruise ship for the company's iconic Cunard brand.

The new ship for Cunard will be built at Fincantieri's shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, with an expected delivery date in 2022. The as-yet-unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet, marking the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.

The new cruise ship will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard flag since the company's founding in 1839. The 113,000 ton vessel will have a passenger capacity of 3,000. Cunard will announce additional details about the new ship starting in 2018.

With this new ship agreement, Carnival Corporation now has 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered to its portfolio of leading global cruise brands between 2018 and 2022.

"We are very pleased to announce a fourth ship for our immensely popular Cunard brand, which is also one of the most legendary brands in the entire vacation industry," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "Cunard offers a fleet of unrivaled vessels and one of the most unique travel experiences in the world, which together create an enchanting and memorable vacation for our guests. While today's news helps drive Cunard's overall strategic growth plans, we also look forward to launching this next-generation cruise ship to help meet increasing global demand and entice even more travelers to explore the Cunard experience."

Donald added: "Fleet enhancement is an important part of our ongoing goal to exceed guest expectations. This includes replacing less efficient ships with more efficient vessels over time as part of our managed capacity growth."

The new ship agreement to build a fourth ship for Cunard extends the brand's recent strength and momentum in the marketplace, including attracting crowds of more than one million people to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2015 and investing the equivalent of $172 million U.S. dollars in the past two years to refurbish the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. With new destinations, event voyages, bar and dining experiences and brand partners, Cunard continues to evolve its guest experiences to consistently exceed expectations.

"With this agreement we once more link our company's name with Cunard's, a real icon of the cruise market, confirming us as shipbuilders able to combine tradition and innovation like no one else in the world," said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. "It is a lasting journey that, besides the construction of the two authentic queens like Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, stresses the importance of our partnership with Carnival Corporation."

Bono concluded: "In fact, we have built 63 ships for Carnival Corporation, representing today almost two-thirds of the company's fleet, with other nine more ships to come in the coming years. A cooperation which can be defined as historical, based on relationships of mutual respect and trust."

Azamara Club Cruises Announces Expansion Of The Fleet
Azamara Club Cruises, the upmarket cruise line subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

"We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them."

The new addition, the Azamara Pursuit, is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. As such, it will also allow visits to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand's commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.

The ship's décor will be updated to match the brand's upmarket position. These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea.

Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October

Viking Takes Delivery Of Fourth Ocean Ship
Viking announced this week that it took delivery of Viking Sun, the company's fourth ocean ship. The delivery ceremony took place this morning when the ship was presented at Fincantieri's shipyard in Ancona, Italy. On October 4, Viking Sun will set sail from Venice, making her way through the Adriatic and Ionian Seas on her maiden voyage. In early November, Viking Sun will cross the Atlantic to sail fall itineraries. On December 15, the ship will embark on Viking's first-ever World Cruise. Over the course of 141 days, Viking Sun will journey around the world, visiting 35 countries and 66 ports, before the itinerary ends in London on May 5, 2018. In 2019, Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe on the recently-announced second World Cruise, which spans 128-days, five continents, 21 countries and 44 ports with 10 port overnights.

"As we celebrate two decades of helping guests travel the world in comfort, this year also marks one of significant growth. We are pleased that with the delivery of Viking Sun we now have four small ships, each carrying only 930 guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "With the continued expansion of our offerings, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration."

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests. Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," the all-veranda Viking Sun is the newest addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky. In its first two years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016 and 2017 "World's Best" Awards. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, and by 2019 it will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are also on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. Highlights include:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from 270 sq. ft. Veranda Staterooms, all with private verandas, sweeping views of the destination and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, generously proportioned closets, large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand, unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi and award-winning bathrooms with large showers, premium Freyja bath products developed exclusively for Viking and heated floors.

• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer expansive views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category on board.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.

• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow of the ship and designed to represent the Scandinavian spirit for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer eight dining options, all with no additional charge or fee—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and a variety of culinary options, and the World Café, which features international fare and regional specialties including a sushi and seafood cold bar—to intimate alternative dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. The Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers, while afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden. Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare, and complimentary 24-hour room service allows all guests to enjoy many signature dishes in the comfort of their stateroom. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea. Additionally, The Kitchen Table specializes in regional dishes from market to table.

• Cultural Enrichment: Viking experiences from ship to shore are designed for unparalleled access and cultural enrichment. Viking Resident Historians deliver high-level historical and cultural education specific to the journey, offering invaluable insight in to the rich history of the destination. Guest Lecturers who are experts in their fields shed light on the destination's art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Destination Performances represent the most iconic cultural performing arts of the region—whether it be Italian opera or Portuguese fado. Resident Classical Musicians—pianists, guitarists, violinists and flautists—perform classical compositions throughout the ships. And Culinary Classes in The Kitchen Table, Viking's onboard cooking school, focus on regional cuisine.

• Nordic Inspiration: Even the smallest details take their inspiration from the exploratory spirit of the original Vikings, reflecting deeply held Nordic traditions. Light wood grains, touches of slate and teak, Swedish limestone and fragrant juniper appear throughout the public spaces and Spa. The Clinker-built design of the Viking Bar mirrors the construction style of the original Viking Longships. A Viking Heritage Center provides history and context from the Viking Age. And characters from Norse Mythology are subtly incorporated into the design, providing curious guests with inspiration to further explore Viking's Nordic heritage.

• Sustainable Features: Designed to be environmentally friendly, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that reduces exhaust pollution and meets the strictest worldwide environmental regulations.

Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is both beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. With the most al fresco dining opportunities at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences ashore and on board. And only The Viking Way of Exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

NCL Working With Partners To Provide Hurricane Relief
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today announced a partnership with All Hands Volunteers, the world’s leading disaster relief organization powered by volunteers, and set a goal to raise $2.5 million for the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program. Under Hope Starts Here, the company is committing to match up to $1.25 million of donations from its valued guests, team members, suppliers and partners in order to substantially help All Hands Volunteers (hands.org), a 501(c)3 non-profit relief organization, and Happy Hearts Fund (happyheartsfund.org) deliver early relief response for the Florida Keys, and rebuild safe, resilient schools in the Caribbean islands impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“We are heartbroken to see the devastation that Hurricanes Irma and Maria have inflicted on the Florida Keys and several Caribbean islands, where our ships have been visiting since the beginning of our 50 years in business,” said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “The Caribbean is part of our family, and we are grateful to work with All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund to create the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program and do our part in giving back to these destinations. We’re proud to start our campaign with a $600,000 donation to help begin the rebuilding efforts.”

“We are incredibly grateful for this support from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., and for our continued partnership with Happy Hearts Fund to provide their support and expertise,” said David Campbell, Chairman and Founder of All Hands Volunteers. “As the single largest donation in our organization’s history, this funding could not have come at a more crucial time as we work to rebuild communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands after the destruction brought by recent natural disasters, Hurricanes Irma and Maria. All Hands Volunteers will work together with the local communities to meet their long-term needs and rebuild hope.”

“We are thrilled to receive this donation from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and to work in partnership with All Hands Volunteers with their hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean islands and the Florida Keys,” said Petra Nemcova, Founder of Happy Hearts Fund. “This funding will allow us to together rebuild safe, resilient schools in areas most impacted by recent natural disasters to keep children safe, but also to ensure that these communities are not forgotten when the emergency response efforts are complete. Children often wait four or more years for schools to be rebuilt, and I hope that more companies will take the same thoughtful actions for long-term recovery.”

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. immediately deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas, USVI to bring 35 pallets of much-needed supplies and assist in humanitarian efforts to evacuate residents and visitors. Additionally, one of the company’s newest ships, Norwegian Escape, also housed approximately 4,000 displaced guests who were unable to secure flights home due to hurricane closures. The company is continuing to collect essential items, including medical supplies, diapers, baby formula, water, food, construction materials, blankets, sleeping pods and more, and is working with partners on the ground to support disaster relief efforts. To help hurricane relief and recovery, and to make a donation that will be matched by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.,

It's a Pleasure Doing Business at The Meeting Place on Celebrity Edge
Today, Celebrity Cruises redefines what it means to "work remotely" with the reveal of The Meeting Place – a state-of-the-art meeting venue onboard the heralded Celebrity Edge.

Designed by Wilson Butler Architects, the 1,970-square-foot venue commands a central location on the ship, complemented by brilliant, awe-inspiring views like no other meeting space on land or at sea – perfect for any need. With soundproof dividers, advanced audiovisual capabilities, varied seating options, private office space for event planners, dynamic mobile bars set up for food and beverages, and a fully equipped pantry with a bar, the possibilities for this venue are truly endless.

"Of course, the most advanced ship we've ever designed would include the most exciting venues for get-togethers, including The Meeting Place," said Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service, Celebrity Cruises. "When you host events at sea, you really elevate your brand. Imagine the spectacular conferences, trade shows, weddings, and reunions you can plan with the gorgeous Celebrity Edge as your setting and an ocean as your brilliant backdrop."

"When designing The Meeting Place we asked ourselves what would be more appealing; being subjected to lectures in a conference room, or socializing with colleagues in a hip lounge?' The latter seemed obvious. Thus the flexibility and functionality of a 'state of the art' meeting space was designed for pleasure first," said Scott Butler, AIA, Founding Partner, Wilson Butler Architects. "The word that defines The Meeting Place is 'connected'. It facilitates guests getting connected to one another; to the latest technology and to the greatest new ideas. It also happens to connect to other venues on the ship that vastly expand the opportunities for groups."

Seating is modern and comfortable: Choose theater-style, classroom, U-shaped, or circular layouts, while table tops work well with or without covers or skirts. The space transforms seamlessly from day into night, with high-top bar tables or comfortable lounge seating for mixing and mingling.

It wouldn't be Celebrity Edge without innovative technology at guests' fingertips. Audiovisual systems — from wireless microphones to a mini sound board — come as standard equipment. An electronic whiteboard helps capture brainstorming sessions easily, while the impressive 98-inch and 75-inch LED screens add a powerful punch to business meetings and a subtle mood for social occasions.

Previously unveiled venues on Celebrity Edge are also available for private events and meetings based on availability, including the three-deck spanning Eden; the revolutionary, cantilevered Magic Carpet; the serene Rooftop Garden; and the tech-savvy Destination Gateway. Each venue is offers extensive audiovisual capabilities, unrivaled, expansive views, and a one-of-a-kind experience.

Carnival Corporation Reports Third Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc announced U.S. GAAP net income of $1.3 billion, or $1.83 diluted EPS, for the third quarter of 2017 compared to U.S. GAAP net income for the third quarter of 2016 of $1.4 billion, or $1.93 diluted EPS. Third quarter 2017 adjusted net income of $1.7 billion, or $2.29 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $1.4 billion, or $1.92 adjusted EPS, for the third quarter of 2016. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $65 million and impairments and other net charges of $395 million for the third quarter 2017 and net gains of $7 million for the third quarter 2016. Revenues for the third quarter of 2017 of $5.5 billion were higher than the $5.1 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald stated, "We delivered another consecutive quarter of strong operational improvement and another third quarter adjusted earnings record. Our ongoing efforts to create demand well in excess of measured supply growth helped to drive five percent higher cruise ticket pricing. We have many innovative efforts to accelerate demand in 2018 and beyond including our recently announced digital streaming channel, OceanView, and our mobile gaming portfolio, PlayOcean, both launching this week." The company will launch OceanView and PlayOcean at a public relations event in New York City's Time Square on September 28th between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Key information for the third quarter 2017 compared to the prior year:

• Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 5.5 percent. In constant currency, net revenue yields increased 5.1 percent for 3Q 2017, better than June guidance of up approximately 4.0 percent.
• Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD increased 12.4 percent (including ship impairment charges). In constant currency, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 0.2 percent, in line with June guidance of approximately flat.
• Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates decreased earnings by $0.03 per share.
• Noncash impairment charges for ships, trademark and goodwill of $392 million driven by the company's decision to strategically realign its business in Australia.

Highlights from the third quarter include the official naming ceremonies for AIDA Cruises' AIDAperla, which was christened in Palma de Mallorca with German model and presenter Lena Gercke serving as godmother, and Princess Cruises' Majestic Princess, which debuted in China with renowned basketball legend Yao Ming and his wife Ye Li presiding over the ceremony. We announced three additional Princess Cruises ships, Golden Princess, Crown Princess and Ruby Princess, will be outfitted with the technical requirements to transition them to the Ocean Platform featuring Ocean MedallionTM. This cutting edge interactive guest experience will be piloted later this year on Regal Princess. Also during the quarter, Holland America Line along with O, The Oprah Magazine, had its inaugural Share the Adventure cruise sailing from Seattle to Alaska with a number of distinguished guests on board including Oprah Winfrey. Additionally, Holland America Line received approval to operate a series of cruises to Cuba beginning in December 2017 and Carnival Cruise Line received approval for five additional Cuba cruises in 2018, following the debut of its program in June of this year.

Outlook

Donald commented, "After the earthquakes in Mexico and a very challenging series of hurricanes, our thoughts are with all of those impacted and we are actively contributing to the relief and rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean and the southern U.S. through monetary and other support. Many people throughout these areas have been impacted and several ports are temporarily unavailable. Fortunately, our owned destinations including Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Cozumel, Mexico; Mahogany Bay, Honduras; Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, Bahamas, as well as more than 40 other ports, plus all those in Mexico, are fully operational and welcoming guests." Donald added that several temporary port closures associated with the storms led to voyage disruptions which are expected to result in an estimated $0.10 to $0.12 per share reduction in earnings in the fourth quarter. The company has resumed normal operations, with some itinerary modifications and is continuing to deliver exceptional Caribbean cruise vacations to its guests.

At this time, cumulative bookings for the first half of next year are well ahead of the prior year on both price and occupancy. Since June, booking volumes for the first half of next year have been running ahead of last year at prices that are well ahead.

Donald added, "Our record results, coupled with strong booking trends, have more than offset the anticipated earnings impact from these weather disruptions, enabling us to raise the mid-point of our guidance and positioning us to achieve the higher end of our previous earnings guidance range. Our performance affirms conviction in our company's inherent ability to deliver sustained double digit return on invested capital in 2018 and beyond. We remain on track to achieve record cash from operations of $5 billion this year, and to continue to distribute cash to shareholders through steadily increasing dividends, currently totaling $1.2 billion annually, and opportunistic share repurchases, which are approaching $3 billion cumulatively over the past two years."

The company expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 4.0 percent compared to the prior year, better than June guidance of up approximately 3.5 percent. The company expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency compared to the prior year to be up approximately 2.5 percent versus June guidance of up approximately 1.5 percent. The cumulative impact of the recent weather related voyage disruptions reduced forecasted full year net revenue yields by 0.4 percent and increased full year net cruise cost guidance by 0.3 percent.

Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.33 per share. Taking the above factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2017 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.64 to $3.70 compared to June guidance of $3.60 to $3.70 and 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $3.45.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Outlook

Fourth quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Excluding the estimated impact from recent weather related voyage disruptions, fourth quarter constant currency revenue yields would have been expected to increase approximately 3.5 percent, 1.5 percent higher than the mid-point of September guidance. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the fourth quarter of 2017 are expected to increase by approximately 6 to 7 percent compared to the prior year of which approximately 1.5 percent was due to the impact of the recent weather related voyage disruptions and nearly 3 percent will be due to higher dry-dock costs as previously anticipated. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.04 per share. Based on the above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter 2017 to be in the range of $0.44 to $0.50 versus 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $0.67.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 63.50 - 2.59%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 113.88 - 4.14%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.04 - 0.49%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.60 - 4.88%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which two 1930's ocean liners had seaplanes mounted between their funnels for the purpose of delivering the mail via air thirty-six hours before the ships docked?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - The outbreak of World War I saw her on the on the Liverpool-New York route from 1915 until 17 July 1918, when she was torpedoed and sunk by U55, 170 miles west of Bishop Rock. Five crew were killed, but the remaining 215 on board, iNCLuding 57 passengers, were rescued by HMS Snowdrop.
courtesy of J. Brice


Cruise News - September 18, 2017

New President & CEO For Crystal Cruises
Genting Hong Kong today announced the appointment of travel industry veteran Tom Wolber as the President & CEO of Crystal Cruises effective September 15th. Mr. Wolber brings over three decades of experience in general management, operations, new-build construction and business development to Crystal during the company's most significant expansion since its founding in 1988.

"Tom's proven leadership skills will be invaluable to Crystal as the line takes delivery of four river ships in 2017 and 2018 as well as the first of the 'Endeavor Class' expedition yachts in 2019," said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Genting Hong Kong and Crystal Cruises. "His leadership will be key to the finalization of specifications and design for the new 'Exclusive Class' oceangoing vessels. Tom has our full confidence and we look forward to working closely with him to ensuring Crystal remains unmatched in the luxury travel segment."

"Crystal has developed a venerable reputation across the travel industry and my first responsibility will be continuing to deliver the world-class service and itineraries Crystal is renowned for," said Tom Wolber. "I thank Chairman Tan Sri Lim for placing his faith in me, and I look forward to spearheading some of the most innovative new-builds and experiences the cruise and hospitality industry has ever seen in the years ahead."

Mr. Wolber joins Crystal most recently from the Walt Disney Company where he served in various executive roles for 28 years, 10 of which were with Disney Cruise Line where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations. Mr. Wolber was involved in transforming Disney Cruise Line from a Port Canaveral based vacation provider to a global cruise line with itineraries covering North America, the Mediterranean and the Baltic. During his time at Disney, Mr. Wolber assisted with the successful design and launch of new builds including Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Additionally, Mr. Wolber served as President and CEO of Euro Disney, Paris and has held senior executive positions in Disney theme parks and resort operations at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

"Since acquiring Crystal in 2015, Genting has worked tirelessly to expand the Crystal brand by launching two river vessels with a third imminent, an expedition yacht and a private Boeing 777 – certainly no easy feat," added Tan Sri Lim. "Thanks to Edie Rodriquez's leadership, Crystal has successfully launched three new brands: Crystal Yachts, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Air. We thank Edie for her service to the company, appreciate all of her hard work, and wish her the very best in future endeavors."

"It's been an extraordinary experience leading Crystal to global prominence, and I am very proud of my accomplishments," said Rodriguez. "I can't thank Chairman Tan Sri Lim enough for the confidence and investment to assure Crystal's future with a bold expansion strategy which I've firmly put in place. I'm happy to turn over the reins, knowing Crystal is well served by the incredibly talented and hard-working people throughout the organization – on sea, river, air and land. I look forward to announcing my new endeavor shortly."

Rodriguez joined Crystal as President & COO in October 2013; she was promoted to President & CEO following the acquisition of the company by Genting Hong Kong in May 2015. Prior to Crystal, Rodriguez held senior marketing, sales and business development positions with other notable luxury lines and travel companies.

FEMA Charters Bahamas Paradise
The MV Grand Celebration, owned and operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, will be heading to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the request of FEMA. The chartered ship will have responsibility for housing the National Guard - first responders as they help to rebuild the lives of individuals and create some structure after the devastation left behind by Hurricane Irma.

The humanitarian mission is expected to start with the ship’s arrival in St. Thomas on Saturday, September 23, 2017 and last through the latter half of December. The cruise line will resume normal cruise operations beginning with the cruise on Saturday, December 23, 2017, with 2-night cruises between the Port of Palm Beach and Grand Bahama Island. The ship has 750 cabins and capacity up to 1,900 passengers.

“We will be reaching out to all of our guests and travel partners this week,” explained Oneil Khosa, CEO of the cruise line. “We feel badly about this 90 day disruption but believe the extensive needs of the St. Thomas people to be of greater importance at this time.”

The island of St. Thomas now must be on alert for the path of Maria, which is a category 5 Hurricane.

Individuals who booked directly with the cruise line for cruises through December 21 can contact Bahamas Paradise’s customer service department at 800-374-4363 to review all the options that are available to guests. Direct cruise line customers can receive a full refund or reschedule their cruise with a $100 onboard credit. Other booked guests should contact their travel providers.

Carnival Fascination Delivers Relief Supplies For St. Maarten
Carnival Cruise Line's announced this week that as part of its continuinjg hurricane relief efforts, Carnival Fascination delivered pallets of critical supplies, including water, canned food and other items, during a port call in St. Kitts to be delivered to the island of St. Maarten which has been impacted by the storm. The donation was made during Carnival Fascination’s current seven-day cruise from San Juan.

Additional Carnival ships will be making similar relief drop-offs during upcoming cruises to impacted destinations such as St. Thomas, Grand Turk, Barbuda (via Antigua) and Key West in the coming days and weeks.

Carnival Cruise Line’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging up to $10 million in funding and in-kind support for relief and rebuilding efforts in Florida and throughout the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. For Hurricane Harvey, Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have already donated $2 million to support the relief and rebuilding efforts.

HAL's ms Koningsdam Features $4.1 Million Art Collection
One of the most notable features of any Holland America Line ship is the remarkable collection of museum-quality art on board. The line's newest vessel, ms Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016, is no exception. With a collection worth $4.1 million, the ship highlights the talents of leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, working with art curator ArtLink, and YSA Design to procure a thought-provoking collection of diverse works that complements the ship's design while stimulating conversation.

The result is a floating art gallery with 1,920 pieces ranging in value from $500 to $600,000 that spans the decks, public rooms and staterooms. More than 21 nationalities are represented by Koningsdam's artists, with the greatest number of contributors coming from the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom. Artists also hail from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.

Koningsdam features artworks in many media, including photography, painting, mixed media, illustration, prints and sculpture. Much of the art curated aboard is from emerging artists and highlights Koningsdam's focus on entertainment, showcasing themes of music, dance and movement.

Ranging from classic to whimsical, a variety of two-dimensional, mixed-media pieces using materials including paint-injected bubble wrap, computer disks on wood, toy cars cast in resin, aluminum wire, cast paper, bamboo and more are scattered throughout the ship. Many of the pieces change appearance depending on the viewer's vantage point, inviting guests to take time to ponder and discuss the works of art.

The largest and most expensive work is the stunning Atrium sculpture titled "Harps" that is based on a concept by Adam D. Tihany, who was at the helm of the ship's design and is regarded as one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. The $600,000 piece is an impressive 7.5-ton stainless steel sculpture that spans three decks.

"Extensive collections of unique and thought-provoking art have always been a hallmark of our elegant on board ambiance, and Koningsdam showcases one of our most exciting and contemporary displays," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Surrounding our guests with a vast array of meaningful artwork is a natural extension of the cruise experience as art awakens your senses, enriches your perspectives, inspires conversation and crosses cultural boundaries, all the same transformative values of travel."

Additional pieces that carry an impressive price tag include Jason Krugman's multideck "Quad Helix" light sculpture located in the Queen's Lounge that cost $174,750; the custom-designed Swarovski crystal globe made by Dutch design group Studio Job valued at $100,000 located on Deck 3, mid-ship stair lobby; and the $54,000 "Rabbit" by Berg and Meyers nestled in The Retreat, which has turned into one of the most talked about pieces on board.

The large-scale tulip images behind the Guest Services desk on Deck 3 are by a Netherlands-based artist who was commissioned to photograph Holland America Line's Signature Tulip. This unique flower only blooms for a couple of weeks every year, so ArtLink's team traveled to the Netherlands to collect the blooms directly from the only grower in the world of the Signature Tulip, and they arrived at the photographer's studio in time to capture the moment.

Some of the most charming pieces can be found nestled inside special tables at the Grand Dutch Café on Deck 3. Royal Goedewaagen created handmade and hand-painted ceramic buildings that showcase a little bit of Dutch history with canal houses, mills, palaces and Zaanse Schans houses (typical greenhouses from a specific region of Holland).

Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar recently exhibited his work at Paris' famed Louvre, and now Holland America Line guests can enjoy his captivating, two-story sculpture in The Dining Room. Titled "Wings of the Pharao," the piece is made from handmade cast paper, Belgian linen and bamboo, and Gentenaar came on board the ship during construction in the yard to complete the installation.

As he has done for the entire Holland America Line fleet, Stephen J. Card, a British artist regarded as one of the finest maritime painters working today, created two paintings that are on display in the Captain's Corner of the Crow's Nest, forward on Deck 11.

A highlight for many Holland America Line devotees are the historic art objects on display that came from ms Ryndam and ms Statendam, which were transferred to sister brand P&O Australia.

Whether it's a collection of pieces featuring famous musicians or a wooden ship sculpture with a cello for its hull, the art aboard Koningsdam makes up one of the finest collections in the world. Guests can explore the decks inside and out and discover inspired works around every turn.

Canaveral Port Authority Designing New Terminal For World's Second-Busiest Cruise Port
Advancing the Tomorrow's Port Canaveral vision to accommodate future growth for the world's second-busiest cruise port, Canaveral Port Authority engaged long-time partner CH2M to design a new terminal to support its cruise business, which currently accounts for 80 percent of the Port's revenue.

The new terminal will join the Port's Cruise Terminal One, also designed by CH2M, in its ability to serve ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class, with capacities of more than 5,400 passengers. The berth will also strengthen Port Canaveral's position as an in-demand port-of-call and popular vacation destination.

In addition to leading design of the proposed 1,400-foot-long terminal berth, CH2M will provide permit support, dredging, bidding support and construction support as part of their waterside engineering design and permitting services contract.

"With experience on both waterside and landside design of cruise terminals at Port Canaveral, we dive deeper than most when it comes to understanding the relationship between a wharf and terminal," said Gary Ledford, CH2M project manager. "Our multi-faceted design knowledge will aid the Port Authority in ensuring that the wharf and the new terminal function seamlessly together so incoming ships can turn around efficiently and continue their journeys."

Guided by their previous success on every recent major waterfront permitting effort at Port Canaveral, and permitting for nearly all of Florida's deepwater ports, CH2M will assist the Port Authority in securing permits from various state and local agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission.

Said CH2M Global Transportation Market Director Kevin Slack, "We're proud to be a significant partner of Port Canaveral's past growth and are eager to continue supporting the successful implementation of a bigger, better terminal to serve today's largest vessels, and assisting the Port Authority in its strategic cruise and infrastructure improvement plans."

The new berth will support an estimated nearly 4,000 permanent jobs, in coordination with overall modernization and improvement plans, including the Port's channel widening and deepening and new cargo piers.

With a legacy spanning more than a century, including work at Port Canaveral since 1954, CH2M's maritime and coastal engineers lead the industry in developing and implementing modernization and capacity increasing solutions that advance business, stakeholder and community goals.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.19 - 0.58%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 118.80 + 1.15%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.05 - 2.84%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.35 + 2.23%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship was the first to offer large picture windows for INSIDE cabins?

Answer - Voyager of the Seas has large picture windows overlooking the atrium of their ship.
courtesy of Bill Thompson, Tampa, FL

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
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NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
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